Oct 26, 2017 4:11:03 PM
Replace or Renovate Your Outdoor Grandstands?
What’s the right decision? A wise decision is based on the Total Cost of Ownership principle. Upfront costs for renovation or retro-fit are usually less than a full replacement. Even though you may save money upfront, in most cases you will bear the additional costs for maintenance and repair in the near future. In addition, issues with CODE Compliance and safety concerns are a consideration that will likely reduce the amount of your initial savings in the near-term. Additional lost revenue opportunities should be considered as part of your decision given possible poor aesthetics of the facility and the associated lack of fan base support.
Decision Criteria: Safety / CODE Concerns with Existing Bleachers
Shouldn’t safety always be your #1 priority? With that in mind, your current bleachers may be unsafe and not CODE compliant. Before making any decision, be sure you check the following:
- Could a Small Child fall through large gaps in your old bleacher?
- Make sure you have Side rails/ hand rails to prevent anyone from falling
- Check to see if you have ADA ramps for handicap attendees
- Check to see if you have enough ADA Handicap Seating for a comfortable view
- Get a Structural Engineer’s approval before making any decisions on a renovation or full replacement project.
There are several reasons why replacing your existing bleachers with new grandstands would be more cost effective than a budget restricting retro-fit or renovation. Constructing replacement bleachers is a much smoother, less risky, and economically efficient operation. The additional cost for a full replacement bleacher, including understructure, may be less than you think. Initially a full replacement may seem like a more expensive strategy, but after considering the short and long term benefits you may change your mind. Here are a few factors to consider that likely will benefit you in the long run.
- Long Term Savings: Spending a little more upfront could give your program a greater return on investment. This investment will last your school 25-30 years!
- Annual Tune Ups: Completely replacing a bleacher will allow the school to significantly lower your annual maintenance costs. Aside from your maintenance inspections, the only work that may be necessary is if your rowdy student section loosens foot decking or seat boards.
- Color & Logos: Replacement bleachers have the ability to spell out logos or initials with matching risers in school colors giving your bleachers a sharper look.
- Admission $: As a school, you will feel more comfortable charging a higher price for a comprehensive seating upgrade that might include VIP chair seating.
- Easy Clean: New no-rust aluminum seating and decking will allow you to power wash the bleachers eliminating any rusting.
- Fully Enclosed Decking: Unlike most renovations, new replacement bleachers are fully enclosed that have no gaps whatsoever. This keeps trash, debris, or even personal belongings from falling under the bleacher.
Renovation: What to Consider!
Renovation is a viable option if it is designed and constructed properly. Anytime your school starts to make a decision whether to renovate or replace, there are a couple cautions that need to be considered when it comes to renovation. Although it may save you money upfront, fully evaluate your situation before making a final decision.
- Faulty Upgrade: Renovations should be more than a mere face-lift. Mixing/matching new and existing decking and bench seating will likely disappoint. Make sure to seek a subject-matter expert, like Toadvine, before making any big decisions so you don’t spend money on a faulty upgrade.
- Look and Feel: Renovation can sometimes leave you with a bleacher that has a multitude of different looking products. Make sure to keep all of your seating consistent so you don’t end up with a mismatched and unprofessional looking bleacher.
- Understructure Warnings: Make sure a structural engineer checks the understructure of the old bleacher to guarantee it will be able to hold and support the added weight of the new additions.
- Level Seats: With the merging of bleacher product technologies, it is not a guarantee that your bleacher bench seating will lay straight. With the constant changing of parts and pieces over the years, sections of your bench seating may not align with one another.
Jim Kessinger, Head Facilities Director of Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY spoke of his experiences with full replacement and renovation: “In my 35 years of experience, I have done both new replacement and renovation outdoor bleacher projects. New bleachers ultimately just provide a better outcome for our schools with less problems both at time of construction and in the years to follow. Toadvine has been a great partner in guiding us through the appropriate decision making process.”
Ask for Help!
Let Toadvine guide you through the decision making process of your new construction project or renovation upgrade. Toadvine is available to share our expertise in all phases of your outdoor bleacher projects, from design to installation and ongoing maintenance. Our experienced team, including project managers, will work with you from start to finish on all aspects of your outdoor bleacher projects.
- Call Toadvine for a full evaluation of your current grandstands.
- Set up an appointment to meet with our expert team to discuss all the options.
- Let us put you in touch with other clients that have made similar decisions.
Apr 4, 2017 8:32:56 AM
Safety Straps: For the Safety of All
The gym must be a safe place - right? Floors are regularly cleaned and inspected for damage, bleachers are lubricated and seats are tightened, and electrical and plumbing systems are subject to strict codes. But what about the stuff hanging over your head? Too often, basketball backstops are the most overlooked piece of equipment in your gymnasium. Once the backstop system is properly installed, it is the schools responsibility to inspect and maintain that equipment.
Pulleys, cables, components, limit switches and many other factors can contribute to failure of a suspended backstop. The one overriding factor in all falls is the lack of a fully automatic safety strap. The majority of existing units lack a fully automatic safety strap and aren't regularly inspected.
What Happens if a Basketball Backstop Falls?
When you turn the key to lower or raise your basketball backstops, do you ever think about what would happen if a cable suddenly snapped? Many athletic directors and staff members who operate basketball goals are quite weary of the size of these units and keep a close eye on the unit when raising or lowering them. The movable portion of a backstop system can weigh close to 1,000 pounds and can be suspended 20 to 30 feet above the court floor. Together, when these systems fall, they can generate thousands of pounds of force on impact. It usually damages the backstop structure and facility. More importantly, it can also cause injury to spectators below. The type of damage that occurs when this happens can include damaged gym floors and bleachers, pipes damaging ceilings and walls, and even fractured ceiling beams.
What are Safety Straps?
Safety straps are the seatbelts for your ceiling-suspeded basketball goals. This piece of equipment acts as a backup so that if the cable ever failed, the safety strap acts like the seatbelt in your car and stops the backboard from falling.
Many older safety systems were not automatic and pinched the belt when triggered, requiring a manual reset of the unit. After having to travel 30 feet high to reset the unit a few times, many were just removed from the backstop and tied off to avoid having to reset them. Today, safety straps are fully enclosed, self-checking, reset automatically and work silently in the background.
Why Get Safety Straps for your Basketball Backstops?
There is no good reason for any movable backstop to not have a safety strap installed. Safely securing a piece of ceiling-suspended equipment will give you peace of mind for not only the safety of parents, coaches and student-athletes but also for your finances. Accidents happen sometimes besides our best efforts to prevent them. Having a proper safety system installed will provide a greater level of safety.
- Gain peace of mind knowing that your goals are secured and players and fans are safe
- Reasonably inexpensive-safety straps won’t negatively impact your program’s athletic budget
- An “Insurance” type product-safety straps are worth every penny to protect what matters
- Most insurance companies require safety straps in areas where goals hang above bleachers
- Rarely need to be replaced-good until they catch a basketball goal
If you do not already have a preventative maintenance plan for your basketball backstops, we suggest you plan one now. If you do not have the resources or expertise to perform an initial inspection or to provide preventative maintenance, there are qualified inspection and maintenance companies like Toadvine who can provide this service for you locally.
If you plan to perform this yourself, here are some suggestions for inspection and maintenance of your equipment:
- Install a safety strap or inspect your existing safety strap belt for any sign of wear and perform a pull test to test the units function
- Inspect and tighten bolts where needed
- Check all moving parts for signs of wear and replace as needed
- Lubricate moving parts where required
- Replace winch cable every two years or immediately if there is any visible wear
- Inspect and adjust limit switches
By following some of these general guidelines for better backstop safety, the next game in your gym can be a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved.
Mar 2, 2017 4:28:03 PM
How to Generate Revenue with Your Athletic Facility
Find out how to increase your revenue by using multiple facets of your facility to not only pay for the upgrades, but also give your program’s finances a boost. Toadvine Enterprises strives to help each customer grow their athletic department to provide the best experience for both student-athletes and fans. If you find that your programs are pinching pennies, consider the follow options:
VIP Seating provides an excellent return on investment. Consider VIP Seating as part of a project to renovate an existing grandstand or a complete replacement of your outdoor stadium bleachers. VIP Seating not only can help you pay for your project, but also creates an ongoing revenue stream to help pay for program expenses. A local high school in Louisville, Kentucky took advantage of VIP seating to pay for a large stadium upgrade in 3 years. Avid fans and parents of your student-athletes will be quick to pay extra for an assigned, comfortable and convenient seat to watch their favorite athletic teams. Here is a list of attributes that will be provided through a VIP Seating investment:
- Increased revenue stream for premium seating
- Comfortable Chair-back seating
- Generous amount of leg room
- Cup holders for added convenience
- Pre-paid season tickets will help you budget for the season
- Advertisement opportunities with name/company plates on seats
Investing in a new and upgraded scoreboard is another way to create revenue streams to pay for facility projects and ongoing program expenses. Your fan’s eyes are constantly glancing at the scoreboard almost as much as they are watching the actual game. With the purchase of a new scoreboard, local companies will be lining up to get their message on your board whether it be in video form or with scoreboard signage. Upgrading your scoreboard will more than pay for itself but also provide a better overall experience for all participants.
Use one of your school’s biggest investments to your advantage. Believe it or not, athletic teams are always looking for gym time, multiple times per week, to hold their practices. The demand for gym time is nowhere near the supply of gym space available. Most high school or middle school teams are finished with practice by 6 PM on most weekdays. Renting your facility for the remaining 4 hours of the evening could result in a significant revenue stream for your program. Here are some additional groups to consider for renting out your facility:
- Summer Camps/Clinics (All sports)
- 7 on 7 football tournaments
- Pre-season Jamborees (Basketball/volleyball)
- Weekly practice time (All sports)
- Charity Galas
- Professional Speakers
Idle space is one of the greatest ways to increase your athletic facility’s revenue. With reasonably inexpensive banners and other investments, it’s a no-brainer to take advantage the following popular areas of your facility where advertisements will have the most success:
- Entrance Gates
- Perimeter Fences
- Ticket Stubs
- Soccer Advertising Boards
As an add-on to a season ticket package, offering reserved parking would not only increase the overall experience and convenience of attending games but also offer an additional source of revenue. Logistically, implementing a traffic control attendant to direct members to their reserved spot would also help the flow of traffic in an area full of children. Along with the safety aspect, creating a community in the parking lot, before the game, could greatly increase the community’s comradery and support of your team. Developing your fan base always increases revenue to help grow your program. Charging an easy $30 per season for reserved parking could bring in $2,000-$3,000 in additional revenue.
Aug 24, 2016 11:00:00 AM
As we look forward to some of our jobs that are coming up this fall, the one that excites us the most is Centre College's soccer stadium. We are isntalling a 10 row 99'-4" I-beam bleacher that will have a seating capacity of 504 spectators.
Once a job is complete we usually go take some photos of the stadium to display and brag about our work. Well, this time we are going to try a different approach to showing off our work. Once Centre's soccer stadium is complete we are going to be releasing a drone flyover to showcase the completed job from a whole new perspective. We are excited to be able to share with our customers and friends this new way of displaying our work so be on the look out for it later this fall
The Toadvine Team
Jul 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM
We know you all are just as busy as we are in the summer months. You have your "to do list" to get done before school starts back. Most of our clients want us to get their projects done while kids are out of school and there are no interruptions. Well, summer is coming to end quickly and we wanted to make sure you have everything covered, and if you don't now is the time to get us on your schedule.
Our checklist is short, sweet and to the point; Have you scheduled your annual indoor/outdoor bleacher maintenance? Have you scheduled your annual basketball goal or divider curtain maintenance? Have you ordered any needed athletic equipment for fall sports? If you answered no to the first question you better call us today or you could be answering to your insurance agent on why you haven't had it done this year. Come to think of it, if you have anwered no to any of these questions you had better call us soon because your time is running out! Our fall schedule is starting to fill up and we want to make sure you we get you on our schedule.
We are here to serve you so call us today and let us know how we can help get you prepared for another great year. Whether you are needing service or equipment be sure to call us at 502-241-6010 and talk to one of our incredible sales reps.
The Toadvine Team
Feb 19, 2015 6:34:00 AM
Mentoring and educating children takes strong leadership and courage to guide them toward success.
On February 27 - March 1, the 79th Kentucky School Board Association's (KSBA) annual conference will kick off with a focus on those areas. The 2015 KSBA Annual Conference "Kentucky Public Schools: The Courage to Lead" is coming to the Galt House in Louisville and will provide an opportunity for those in the education field to network with colleagues from across the state and participate in informative workshops and sessions that focus on service in the education field.
The mission of the KSBA is to enhance leadership in maximizing student achievement through superior support and services in order to build more successful students and stronger communities. Through educational and informative sessions with topics ranging from promoting school readiness to dealing with difficult people in the workplace, these sessions are designed to educate those striving to help support the educational goals of children.
Toadvine is proud to be an attendee and exhibitor for this conference. We invite you to visit our booth to find out more about how we can help supply all of your school's athletic needs.
Aug 22, 2014 12:57:00 PM
If Physical Education at your school consists of a whistle and 40 minutes of free time, you could be depriving young children of reaching critical developmental milestones and the opportunity to excel academically.
Researchers with Project SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) experimented with equipment items of varying sizes, shapes, weights and textures to determine if they could foster greater inclusion, activity, and enjoyment during school PE classes in the students. Equipment in each school's physical education program was found to be a critical component of a quality physical education, not only because recreational supplies needed to be provided in sufficient quantities for students to participate, but also because the PE equipment was helpful in differentiating instruction, increasing the levels of student participation and their enjoyment of PE. Adequate and diverse recreational supplies and equipment for PE classes were also proven to build self-confidence.
The study also revealed the benefits of having age-appropriate equipment and its effect on several other non-health related outcomes such as:
- teamwork - culture building and collaboration
- retention - when students enjoy PE more they participate at higher levels and want to be in school
- academic achievement - SPARK research also shows that students spending more time in SPARK PE and less time in the classroom will do as well or better with standardized test scores.
Is your school prepared with a variety of age-appropriate, visually appealing PE equipment that will keep your school-age kids stimulated and engaged? If you need some ideas to get started, click here. If it's time to bump up or begin your school's PE supply closet, we will be happy to help your school develop a supply of equipment for any size budget.
Apr 11, 2014 3:50:00 PM
Organized sports is now a trillion dollar business in this country. This is not an exaggeration. Marketers have even begun targeting participants "from the womb to the tomb," peddling products like Athletic Baby and Baby Goes Pro. Gymnasiums have also popped up for newborns with an eye on getting them to the pros, making personal trainers available for babies as young as six months.
Working class families have long seen sports as a ticket to the future, but the push to excel is a little overwhelming. From the time children can pick up a ball, parents see their child as competing against a multitude of other children for a very few select spots of recognition at the top. Getting into the scholarship pipeline has a much higher cost today than it ever has. Simply playing sports for your school doesn't cut it anymore. Parents are signing up for traveling teams, plopping down hundreds for expensive equipment, paying for personal trainers, elite sports camps, lodging expenses of food and hotels while traveling and sacrificing most, if not all, of their leisure time to attend and transport to games.
Dedicate blogger and statistics keeper, Stats Dad, kept track of the rising costs of organized sports involvement and found that the average sports playing youth spent $9,076 in 2010 and that number jumped to $11,704 in 2011.
In his book The Most Expensive Game in Town, Mark Hyman also explores and exposes the countless areas of commercialism and expenditure that takes place surrounding organized sports. As a parent who made many of the same mistakes he describes in his book, Hyman believes as parents we are becoming blinded to the insanity of spending, pushing and promoting our children up the ladder of success.
"We are sitting ducks. In other contexts, we are careful shoppers, bringing a coupon-clippers sensibility to how we buy and from whom. When the subject shifts from sports and our children, that equilibrium is suddenly lost. We have a hard time distinguishing between supporting them and feeding our runaway ambitions for them. The difference isn't apparent until long after the credit card has been swiped," Hyman believes.
Because most families making these lofty sacrifices aren't wealthy, a powder keg of pressure is unleashed on our very young children. That relentless drive from parents may be the reason 75% of children drop out of organized youth sports by age 13.
Although 7.7 million children played on a high school sports team last year and more than three million children between the ages of five and 19 signed up to compete with U.S. Youth Soccer, the national organization that oversees competitive travel soccer, the chances of making it to the pro level are extremely slim. Statistic Brain listed recently that the odds of a high school football player making it to the NFL as 1 in 6,000 and a shot at the NBA, even more unlikely at 1 in 10,000.
"Parents have the best of intentions for their kids," Hyman said. "They want their kids to be successful and succeed, but sometimes we just show it in the wrong way and have our heads down."
Reuters believes that parents should become aware of this growing problem and begin to lower their expectations. Becoming the next Albert Pujols is probably not a reality, but there are some steps families can take to make sports participation less of a strain financially and emotionally by doing the following:
- Choose your sport carefully. Weigh the investment of different sports. Golf clubs can cost more than $1,000. A soccer ball, cleats and shorts may only run $150. If your child ends up losing interest, you haven't lost a fortune.
- Barter Creatively. Negotiate club fees, barter the costs, pay installments, ask for discounted bulk sports purchases and ask to find out if sports leagues are willing to waive their fees.
- Forget the Shine. When it comes to gear, buy used. Play It Again Sports has great prices for gear that will save you a bunch of money if your child continues to pursue this sport. When you finish with gear you're not using, do the same. Sell it. Don't let it collect dust in the garage.
Although involvement and investment trends in organized sports are climbing, with a little awareness and a strong resolve it is possible for parents to say, "the buck stops here."
Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Jan 22, 2013 8:13:00 AM
A massive crowd of thousands has gathered. Spectators fill the coliseum as a collective roar of excitement fills the air. Athletes from around the world have come together in Athens for the first modern Olympic Games. Only the finest have been chosen, those at the top of their game.
All focus has shifted to the track and field events. Those with lightning speed skill and unprecedented agility will come out on top. The year is 1896. The wooden hurdles are set in place and embedded in the ground. Perfect jumping ability and running skill moves the winner through the first ever 110-meter hurdle event at a record time of 17.6 seconds.
More than 100 years later, Aries Merritt utilizes his running ability to sprint, hurdle, and sprint again, maintaining steady momentum and keeping a steady center of gravity to clear 10 hurdles in the 110 meter race at a new record time of 12.8 seconds.
Just as progression has been made in the skill of talented athletes, progress has also been made in the design, make up, and functionality of competitive hurdles. Ancient wooden hurdles have since been replaced by L-shaped frames with integrated counter balances which allow hurdles to fall over with pressure and eliminate the risk of injury. More durable materials are used, along with features that allow the hurdle to be adjusted to different heights. If you are searching for track and field equipment options, here are a few hurdles offered by Toadvine Enterprises that will exceed your technological expectations and leap you into competitive excellence.
Gill Continuum Automatic Hurdle – This is considered the safest, fastest and most unobtrusive hurdle available for use in any competitive arena.
National Aluminum Hurdle – Made of aircraft aluminum, this high-tech hurdle is adjustable to 5 different heights.
Elite High School Hurdle – Constructed of aluminum tube construction, this hurdle has welded support for extreme durability
Gill Essentials Hurdle – The most economical hurdle made with no pull-over technology, this no frills equipment is perfect for a start up high school track and field team.
Toadvine Enterprises supplies sporting equipment of all kinds to schools and facilites in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio. Contact us for more information about our Track and Field equipment.
Jan 15, 2013 3:11:00 PM
You have probably heard it said, "It's not how you start, but it's how you finish." Tell that to track athletes and they will all agree the start is just as important as the finish. If runners can improve their start times, they have just improved their chances of winning. Toadvine Enterprises carries several products that are designed just for that.
A couple of products that will help with explosive starts are the Power Sprinter, the Dynamic Trainer, and the Pop Belt. The Power Sprinter is the only arm and leg resistance running backpedal device on the market. It is great because it doesn't require a partner. It builds strength in the arms and helps with arm technique, while simultaneously creating resistance to the legs at the ankles.
The Dynamic Trainer has more variety and is not limited to helping athletes with their starts. You can also use this trainer for lateral work and jumps. It not only provides resistance, but is also designed to help runners improve their start through better acceleration mechanics.
Lastly, we are highlighting the Pop Belt which features break-away technology. When an athlete breaks out of the blocks using this device, they do not experience the overload and slowing from traditional resistance like the other devices create. When the trainer creates resistance it is only for a moment until the athlete breaks free through the force of their start. The resistance is not sustained because the cord breaks from the trainer once the break-away limit is reached.
If you believe the start matters as much as the finish, then you should be training with the best equipment designed with the start in mind. It is all about coming out of the blocks explosively.