Speedway

A look toward the Mansfield Motor Speedway as shown in a July 1 photo. Bleachers are being offered by businessman Grant Milliron of what is known as the Mansfield Motor Speedway, school district officials said June 22.

With discussions continuing over a proposed athletic complex on the Shelby High School grounds, a new element is entering into the discussions.
 
Officials at the most recent school board meeting announced the proposed donation of bleacher seating, press box items and other materials for the potential new Shelby athletic facility. The items are being offered by businessman Grant Milliron of what has been known as the Mansfield Motor Speedway, school district officials said June 22.
 
No decision was made.
 
Scott Harvey, the Shelby district's director of building maintenance, grounds and safety, told the Shelby Board of Education that he wants everybody in the public to understand what the opportunity is.
 
“These bleachers, the value of the bleachers is about $3.5 million without the press box,” Harvey said. “It’s $6 million with the press box, (specifically) $6.5 (million).”
 
“The cost of the bleachers to us would be $650,000,” Harvey said. “That is what it takes to get them (torn) down and our site…The bleachers are cheaper than what we would be able to buy bleachers for.”
 
In addition, “there was an opportunity to get a couple hundred thousand dollars of worth equipment donated to us,” Harvey said. They include sports lighting, as many toilets and flush valves as needed, air conditioning units and storefronts form the press box, electrical panels and doorways, for example.
 
“We could build a press box of our size” with the materials from the speedway press box, Harvey said.
 
“We were also getting concession stands” and other equipment.
 
The bleachers also are considered fan-friendly. With the depth of these bleachers, fans will not need to stand up from their seats to allow other people to pass through, Harvey detailed. “People can walk behind you,” he added.
 
Handicapped seating and ramp materials, such as stairwells, also are available.
 
“There is a lot of great opportunity and a tremendous offer from Mr. Milliron to help us out,” Harvey said.
 
“At this point, you would own all of those for $650,000,” Harvey said of the bleachers. “You can get them (torn) down and on-site” in Shelby. "You would not have to build them now. You could do it in two years, three years.”
 
The numbers are known, Harvey emphasized. “To get them down as they are now, $650,000 and on our site. Another $950,000 if you wanted to erect them” in Shelby.
 
School Board member Lorie White said: “We recognize, I recognize that it is a very generous offer. And I think we owed it to the community to do our due diligence and do that work and determine if there is a way to make that fit out needs. I feel like we have done that."
 
“I feel like the (school district) administration has focused so much time on this, which was important to do,” White said. “It’s just bad timing…I am not opposed to this particular offer. It’s just I am philosophically opposed to building a (nearly) 6,000-seat stadium."
 
“If we can keep it at 3,700-ish…not tremendously bigger than what we have” at the aging Skiles Field “then I would feel better about that," White said. "I (would) feel like it suits our needs. But we have to stay on a budget.”
 
Earlier, school board member Carl Ridenour said of the speedway bleachers: “When we look at the costs of accepting the gift and taking them down and transporting them here and putting them back up, the cost of that gift is a lot more than what we were going pay in the first place. That is the problem that I have.”
 
Ridenour asked: “And is it really a free gift? Because when we are tearing it down and putting it back up, there’s a lot more costs involved in that than just taking those bleachers as a gift.”
 
The speedway’s press box, Ridenour said, also could get “very expensive” were the school district to accept the press box and use it at a Shelby athletic complex.
 
Ridenour said Shelby schools need an athletic complex plan, similar to detailed planning documents recently presented for the pre-kindergarten-through-8th grade schools that’s in the works.
 
The plan would say, “This is what we want to build, and we have the opportunity to get this gift of some of the (speedway) materials, and can we get those materials and does it make sense to take them?" Ridenour said.
 
"I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but we also have to spend the community and the school district’s money wisely,” added Ridenour, who later noted that district officials "still are" interested in the bleacher proposal.
 
In later comments, Harvey said it would be helpful if the school board members came up with the "number” of bleachers they would feel comfortable in accepting for future use.
 
“You know you have them,” Harvey said of the benefits of having the bleachers in Shelby where they could be stored for an interim period.
 
“In the worst-case scenario (if) we have to shut down Skiles in three years," Shelby schools officials could say "OK, let’s get these bleachers erected," Harvey said. "We could survive…The track (facility), the little restroom, they are better than what we have now at Skiles to be honest with you.”
 
“At least you could play sports here at Shelby and not have to go somewhere else,” Harvey said. “In a true emergency, we’d have our bleachers sitting here on-site….and we could get them up.”
 
An October 2019 statement on the speedway website said the future of the speedway was uncertain and that the property would be for sale.
 
"It has been confirmed that Cody Sommer, the Owner/President of Mansfield Motor Speedway, LLC will not be moving forward operating the venue at the close of this calendar year," the statement read, referring to 2019.


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