NEWELL - Like family mementos sold at a garage sale, parts of Newell Memorial Field are finding their way to new homes in faraway places and for sometimes unusual purposes.
The visitors' side bleachers and press box recently were shipped to a private school in Lafayette, La., that purchased the equipment. The scoreboard was bought by a Milwaukee-based production company that wants to use it in a Coca-Cola commercial, said Jeff Cahill, of Dallas, Texas, who bought the stadium equipment from Juszczak Development.
"They want to repaint it, make it look really old, like from the '50s, and use it for a commercial," Cahill said.
ALL THAT REMAINS — Goal posts and stadium seating beams are practically all that’s left from the demolition of Newell Memorial Field. -- Stephen Huba
SIGN OF THE TIMES — A sign at the Newell Memorial Field gate shows the Oak Glen High School Golden Bears’ 2011 football schedule. Hancock County commissioners agreed to keep the memorial gate intact. -- Stephen Huba
Most recently, Cahill listed the home bleachers on the website UsedBleachers.com hoping for a buyer. Cahill, who owns a Cadillac dealership in Dallas and frequently lists used bleachers on the website, is listing the Newell stadium seating for $95,000.
"These are elevated bleachers great for football, soccer or rodeo stadiums," the listing said. "Has very heavy-duty galvanized frames and all-aluminum seats."
Although the bleachers are sold as-is, the Newell seating will need a lot of work before it is usable, Cahill said. For that reason, he expects to find a non-school buyer - a racetrack, a rodeo or some other private facility, he said.
"Those are not safe to be used by anybody right now. They need a lot of updating ... and a lot of money to make them right," Cahill said. "If anybody kept using those bleachers (as they are), they'd probably end up being hurt. Little kids can fall right on through."
Cahill said the bleachers, although in good shape, need risers and more secure flooring. Improvements in the form of aluminum reinforcements could cost as much as $40,000, he said.
It cost $15,000 in aluminum to make the visitors' side bleachers ready for use, Cahill said, and it cost another $6,000 to ship them to Louisiana.
Cahill said he learned about the stadium opportunity from Rob Juszczak of Juszczak Development, whose bid to disassemble and haul away the stadium equipment was accepted by Hancock County commissioners in June.
Juszczak's bid originally included the visitors' side bleachers, the home bleachers, the press box and other equipment (fencing, scoreboard and lights), but was later revised to include demolition of the concrete pilings, the restrooms and the concession stand.
The aluminum seats are being stored in a warehouse in Pennsylvania, Cahill said.
Work at the site is ongoing and is expected to be done by the end of the year, weather permitting, Juszczak said.
"The only thing left is the restrooms, the kitchen and the lighting," he said.
Juszczak said he is pleased that most of the stadium equipment is being recycled instead of being scrapped.
"The guy who bought the press box was tickled to death," he said. "It pretty much all got reused. It's amazing."
Juszczak said the scoreboard had to be removed quickly because the production company was working under a deadline.
"They sent these two guys down from Wisconsin the day before Thanksgiving. ... We worked all day the day before Thanksgiving because they had to have it all redone by Dec. 3 for the production of that commercial," he said.
Juszczak said the company liked the fact that the sign already had a Coca-Cola logo on it.
"I guess they needed it pretty bad," Cahill said. "That thing was kind of hard to get rid of because it was the old style (scoreboard)."
As for the home seating, the online listing describes it as having 20 rows, 3,230 seats and walkways. Cahill said the price is based on $25 a seat, and aluminum floors can be added for an extra charge.
"I can sell these things to a guy with a rodeo in Mexico, and he'll be as happy as can be," he said.
Cahill expressed bemusement at the community interest in Newell Memorial Field, although he encountered some of that nostalgia while he visited the area earlier in the fall.
"There were people coming down and picking stuff up. I gave stuff away - whatever anybody wanted," he said.
Ground was broken for Newell Memorial Field in 1947, and the work was completed in time for Wells High School to play its home football games there in 1950, according to the website LaurelHollowPark.net. The stadium continued as the home game site for the Oak Glen High School Golden Bears, who played their last game there against East Liverpool on Oct. 14, 2011.
The Hancock County school board decided to sell the stadium - and the old Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton - at public auction after building multi-sports complexes for Oak Glen and Weir High in 2012.
The decision became controversial after the school board declined offers from the Chester Volunteer Fire Department to buy the Newell stadium and keep it in community hands. The fire department was the only bidder at the auction, but the bid was rejected as too low.
Hancock County commissioners bought the two stadium properties for $400,000 in December 2012. They want to clear both sites and sell or lease them for economic development purposes.
Commissioners agreed to a request from the Newell Area Civic Council to keep the war memorial - two brick pillars erected in memory of Newell veterans killed in World Wars I and II - intact.
Newell American Legion Post 114 has the bronze plaque that used to be displayed on the right brick pillar.
(Huba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)