PA1016SPORTSdeslittle.jpg

The Pasco School District ordered the closure, likely for the rest of the school year, of the home stand at Gulf High School’s Des Little Stadium. The district had a structural engineering firm conduct safety inspections of the concrete grandstands at seven Pasco schools, which prompted the school district to also close the visiting fan stand at Pasco High School.

NEW PORT RICHEY — It’s the end of an era for the grandstands over at Gulf High School’s Des Little Stadium. The home stands at Des Little have stood for over 35 years and see them while you can because they will be coming down soon.

The school announced this week that surveyors inspected the school’s grandstands and deemed them unsafe for spectators to take seats in and they will be closed off for the rest of the school year.

The Buccaneers will play their homecoming game Friday against Tarpon Springs and had to order a special set of grandstands for the event in order to accommodate fans on the home side. The visiting grandstands are still open for spectators to take seats in. The concession stand and weight room at the stadium will also be demolished when the new home grandstand is built.

It has already been a tough season for the Buccaneers so far on the football field, as Gulf started the season at 0-6 and were coming off a 62-0 loss to neighboring River Ridge. Gulf Head Coach Daniel McLeod had suffered a health issue, from which he has since returned to the team’s practices.

The football program is in the midst of having its eighth head coach in the last 10 years. Gulf is going through a complete rebuilding phase under McLeod, who previously was Jason Stokes’ offensive coordinator at Pasco High School, in Dade City. Gulf still has a home game left against Wesley Chapel and then away games versus Zephryhills and Cypress Creek.

Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning said in a news release the school district decided to close the home stand at Des Little Stadium after a structural engineering firm inspected the concrete stadium seating areas at seven Pasco schools. In addition to the stand closing at Gulf, the district imposed a temporary closing on the visiting fan bleachers at Pasco High.

“Some people have asked why we can’t wait until the end of football season, but my top priority is to protect the safety of students, parents and community members, so I made the decision not to delay closing the stands,” Browning said of the timing of the closure decisions.

The bleachers closing would not have a negative impact on any of the sports, including football, track and soccer, played at the Gulf and Pasco stadiums, the school district stressed.