LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin's Abe Martin Stadium is in need of major repairs. Earlier this week school officials found out the six 39-year-old steel light poles surrounding the stadium are rusting from the inside.
Thursday night, Lufkin ISD school board trustees voted to start looking for competitive bids to repair and modify the stadium.
Superintendent Roy Knight, for Lufkin ISD, said it will more than likely be a month before the board receives all the bids. Once all are received, they will review the bids and make a decision on who will do and when modifications will begin.
Knight added they have no particular price range for the exact cost for the repairs.
In May, a wind-storm revealed one pole's loose foundation. A company inspected each of the poles and discovered the stadium's concrete support piers were showing substantial cracks.
"Though not life-threatening to anyone yet, they are to the point of no return, they'll have to be replaced and we will need to act pretty expeditiously on this," said Knight.
Replacing the lights is estimated to cost about $400,000. Administrators were looking at an additional $350,000 to fix the stadium.
Knight said, "I think it's real important that I let all of our fans know, they're safe sitting in the stands, but if in the next 20 years, or the next 10 years, if we didn't address this, the integrity of the stadium would be suspect. We're not there yet..."
One immediate change, the famous "LP" sign will come down. Officials call it "a sail in the wind," saying it is adding more stress on the pole.
There is no decision yet on where the Lufkin staple will go but, Knight said, it will be visible from the highway and Friday night football will go on.