Four new light poles were ordered last week for the Archbold High School football stadium, said David Deskins, Archbold Area School District superintendent.
The problem? The manufacturer said the district can expect delivery in four to six weeks.
The first home football game is Friday, Aug. 27, just over three weeks away.
Deskins said even if the poles are delivered within the four-week time frame, it would be practically impossible to have the poles inspected, lights mounted, placed on the concrete foundations, and have electric lines connected in time for the first home game.
He said school district offi- cials are examining possible options, including renting lights for the stadium, or moving the game’s start time earlier so the contest takes place during daylight.
Deskins said district offi- cials “will apply pressure” to the manufacturer to get the poles delivered as quickly as possible.
As for the local contractors working on the project, Deskins said he suspects that once the new poles arrive, “they’ll work around the clock” to get them in place.
The stadium needs four new light poles because the originals, installed in 2005, could not be safety-certified.
Whitco, a Texas-based company, manufactured the poles. The company has gone out of business.
Over the past few months, galvanized steel light poles manufactured by Whitco, like those used in Archbold, began falling to the ground. Examinations discovered problems with the welds that connect the poles to the base plates.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of more than 2,500 Whitco poles in July.
A testing laboratory hired by the school district examined Archbold poles, but could not certify them.
They were taken down July 20.
Deskins did not have an exact amount, but said the replacement poles will cost the school district more than $80,000.
Where will the money come from?
“That’s a good question,” Deskins said.
Because Whitco is out of business, the district can’t demand compensation.
He said the money will probably come from the school district permanent improvement fund, or possibly the athletic fund.
The old poles were sold for scrap. He estimated the scrap value at around $2,000.
But Deskins said he would not jeopardize the safety of players, coaches, and fans at the stadium, no matter what the cost.
The good news is the new light poles will fit the concrete foundations already in place.
New foundations won’t need to be poured, nor will the existing foundations require modification.
Also, the original lighting systems will fit the tops of the new poles.