The Richland School District is closer to renovating the visitor-side bleachers at Fran Rish Stadium.
The school board approved the design and construction documents for the stadium project Tuesday night. The district will begin seeking bids for the project, estimated to cost $2 million.
Construction is expected to begin after football season ends and finish before track season begins.
The renovation is one of several projects paid for by a $98 million bond approved by voters in February 2013.
The district has already started on most of the other projects. Work is in progress at two central Richland elementary schools under renovation, a new south Richland elementary school, and a new heating and cooling system at Chief Joseph Middle School.
The work at Fran Rish will completely replace the building on the visitor side. There won't be any additional seats, but it will comply with accessibility regulations, have updated bathrooms and better accommodations for coaches and media.
District officials have worked on the project for months, including several engineering surveys and tests. The project generated controversy this past winter after the district hired a contractor to rip out the concrete "R" and "H" set into the hillside next to the visitor-side bleachers, as well as a "C" at neighboring Carmichael Middle School.
District officials said the letters were a safety hazard and needed to be removed eventually to complete the renovation project. Residents and school boosters said they should have been notified before the letters, which had been in place for decades, were taken out.
The district has placed sod into the gaps left by the removed letters as a temporary measure, though not all are pleased with the result.
"The poor excuse you used to replace (the letters) is terrible," Kenneth Dane said .
Boosters, district staff and students are meeting to discuss how to replace the landmarks once the renovation is complete.
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402, firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver