CLEARFIELD – The safety issue with the Clearfield County Fair’s nearly century-old grandstand building is going to be a “simple fix.”
Until an exclusive interview with GANT News on Saturday, the Clearfield County Fair and Park Board hadn’t publicly commented on the safety issue with the grandstand.
“There isn’t anyone on the fair board who is qualified to,” explained Fair Manager Greg Hallstrom. “We don’t have any engineers. We couldn’t say anything – good or bad – about the situation.”
The issue initially arose during the opening day of the fair on July 28, he said, when a “softball-sized” patch of concrete fell from a corner of the ceiling underneath the grandstand.
Though it fell into a vendor booth, there weren’t any reported injuries, he said, and the fair board immediately cleaned up and closed off the area.
The next morning, workers were brought in to chisel, hammer and break off every loose piece of patchwork underneath the grandstand.
Hallstrom said the fair board was contacted by Clearfield Borough Code Enforcement Officer Larry Mack, and they met early one morning before the fair was open to the public.
“He took some pictures, and when he left, we felt everything was good,” he said; “then, on Aug. 20, we received notice that the grandstand was closed due to a safety issue.”
The board was also directed to obtain a “borough-approved” structural engineer and to have an evaluation conducted on the grandstand.
On Aug. 26, Hallstrom said the board met with its engineer to review its concerns, as well as the information it had received from the borough.
When it received the engineer’s final report on Sept. 6, “it was to our happiness that it was going to be a very simple fix,” he said, noting this was “solidified” by the engineer Thursday.
The grandstand repair work will consist of constructing four building collars, some chipping and sandblasting and applying an epoxy paint coating upstairs.
“That’s it,” according to Hallstrom, who said the engineer recommended work be completed this spring. He was also advised the grandstand is safe to use for winter storage rentals.
He said work underneath the grandstand will take about a week and the rear, exterior work will take a couple days. Upstairs has the least amount of work, but it will take the longest.
In the grandstand’s upstairs, epoxy painting must be done the whole way across both end sections, plus the front and back to prevent the weather from penetrating the concrete.
“We really think … the work underneath and to the backside will be done and complete in 10 to 14 days,” Hallstrom said. “Then, it’s just the painting … it’s going to take some time; it’s just a big area.”
He noted the borough has received its copy of the engineer’s final report, and the fair board intends to follow the engineer’s recommendation with the borough’s approval.
Clearfield Borough owns the grandstand; however, it’s under the management of the Clearfield County Fair and Park Board. It was built in three months in 1924-25 at the cost of $85,000.