Tuscumbia forced to replace two stadium light towers after one collapses

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s tough to believe, but in just three weeks high school players will start their regular season on the gridiron.

At Deshler High School, fingers are crossed in hopes that the lighting at their stadium will be ready after receiving storm damage back in July.

A crumpled metal lighting tower rests on the ground behind the south bleachers at Howard Chappell Stadium in Tuscumbia. The tower was pushed to the ground by winds from an EF1 tornado on July 14.

Since then the board of education has been evaluating the situation.

“I had to declare it an emergency because of safety issues and concerns with the public and with the football season about to start,” stated Superintendent Darryl Aikerson.

On Friday morning school board members approved the declaration which opens up insurance funds to replace the one tower.

But there’s an unexpected twist. Inspectors found some bad news when they started checking the adjoining towers at the stadium.

“We noticed on a second tower that there was some previous damage that had been done,” explained Aikerson. “So, when we examined that tower we decided to not just replace one tower, but to replace two towers.”

The second tower replacement will have to come from local funds since it didn’t get damaged in the storm. Each tower runs about $50,000 to install.

As the clock winds down to kick-off, school board members are hoping they will be able to get both towers replaced before the stadium fills up with fans.

School board members will have to call another emergency meeting to award the bid for installing the two light towers at the stadium.

Officials said they will also be keeping a close eye on the north towers at the stadium and they foresee having to replace those in the near future.