VALE – To anyone who has ordered a vehicle part or even sweated out waiting for drip tape to start planting, supply chain issues have caused more than few headaches. That same issue has now hit Vale football.
Plans for new seating at Frank Hawley Stadium are now on hold as the arrival of aluminum bleachers has been delayed due to supply chain issues. The issue facing the Vikings currently is the old bleachers have been removed in preparation for the new arrivals and the delivery date for the new seats are currently up in the air.
The district was recently notified that shortages of steel and aluminum has caused the problem.
In the interim, the district and Vale High School are making plans for a home football season.
“The new estimated installation date is now late September,” said Vale School District Superintendent Alisha McBride. “The demolition and site preparation work are expected to be completed on schedule, which places the District in a very favorable position for installation.”
McBride said Vale has no plans to change the three varsity football games currently on the schedule. These will go forward on Hawley field, including the Homecoming game scheduled for Sept. 16 versus the 4A Baker Bulldogs.
“As the season approaches, we will be developing a plan to ensure that our Vale Viking Football fans are able to view the contests and cheer for our Vikings,” said McBride.
During an interview with McBride and other school officials, it was discussed using the newly poured cement pad, originally installed for the bleachers, as a place for lawn chairs and allowing space in the grass area for fans with blankets. The possible renting of temporary bleachers was also discussed.
The lack of bleachers will cause a problem to distant fans of the Vikings. The live streaming of the game, done through a partnership with NFHS, will not occur as the camera for the game was mounted on the press box of the stadium. As there will be no press box, no live stream of the game will take place at this time.
An additional hurdle for both the Vale and visiting teams will be coaches obtaining a bird’s eye view of the game, usually accomplished with assistant coaches high above the crowd in the box. School officials are currently working on this issue also.
McBride said if the steel and aluminum structures arrive earlier than the late September date, an earlier installation could take place. Installation at this time would necessitate the moving or rescheduling of a few junior varsity games.
“Because the site will be ready, if the materials arrive earlier than expected, there is a possibility that the Southern Bleacher will be able to move up the installation date,” she said.
The plans for seating Vale fans will need to be in place as the Vikings open the season at home with a matchup versus Idaho’s Parma Panthers on Friday, Sept. 2. The Vikings will be on the road the following week before returning for the Homecoming game. Vale then hits the road for three games before wrapping up the season at home with the rival Bulldogs of Nyssa.
McBride said the situation is not ideal, but has become common for both the district and businesses in the area. Supply chain problems continue to plague orders from everything to football helmets to athletic bags and basketball unforms for the Vikings.
“Although there may be a slight delay in the completion of the project and the seating configuration may look different this fall, we are extremely excited that the District is able to complete this much needed project, which will benefit Vale schools and the community for years to come,” said McBride.