CHERRYVILLE, N.C. -- The price tag to repair unsafe school stadiums in Gaston County could rise dramatically in the next few weeks, depending upon what inspectors find when they examine seven existing stadiums.
So far, two stadiums checked have structural and safety problems and the bleachers have been closed.
At Rudisill Stadium in Cherryville, inspectors found widespread distress and cracking.
Engineers recommend tearing the home bleachers down. That recommendation, for now, does not have a price tag.
Engineers also recommend repairing the visitor side bleachers for around $100,000.
Cherryville High School sent a "stay away from the stands" letter home Monday with students.
"No one is allowed to sit on it because it's like a health issue now,” said student Haley Eller. "The bleachers are like basically about to fall apart.”
Eller said she always felt safe sitting on them but they've been like this for years.
Senior Caleb Feemster said he's complained about them.
"We've been sitting there for so long and they've been cracking up and they just decided to condemn it this year so close to graduation. I mean why not do it before and try to fix it,” asked Feemster.
Gaston County Schools inspects school stadiums every year. This time, the district's insurance company recommended a more thorough inspection, in part because other school districts in other cities found structural and safety problems on similarly-aged stadiums.
The same engineering company which found problems at Rudisill also found safety and structural problems at South Point High School.
That stadium is closed and repairs are estimated at $500,000.
That number could increase because seven stadiums still have to be inspected.
Graduation plans are still being worked out.
"We'd have to get to a smaller area to do our tradition, so we wouldn't be able to bring as much family to see us graduate,” Feemster said.
District officials said they’re not sure where money to fix the stadiums would come from. It's still something they're looking into.
Their next step is waiting for all the stadiums to be inspected, come up with a total and determine a priority list.