Senate passes Zorn’s high school press box exemption bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to clearly state that football stadium press boxes, concession stands and ticket booths do not need to be heated as “occupied” spaces.

“We need to insert some common sense into the current law and end a ridiculous delay to a local high school construction project,” said Zorn, R-Ida.

Madison School District in Adrian is trying to build a press box this summer as part of a larger upgrade to their football and track facilities. However, state building inspectors are interpreting current mechanical codes to say that the press box is an “occupied space” and must have permanent heating facilities capable of maintaining a minimum room temperature of 68 degrees.

“Now that the Senate has approved this reform, I hope the House will act quickly to resolve this disagreement and prevent local taxpayer dollars from being wasted,” Zorn said.

Senate Bill 294 would amend Michigan’s construction code to clarify that interior spaces, such as press boxes, that are built as viewing areas for outdoor sporting activities are exempt from the permanent heating requirements.

As passed by the Senate, the bill would also exempt ticket booths and concession stands from the heating requirement. The bill also adds clarity to the existing exemption that press boxes with an aggregate area of 500 square feet or less are not required to have an elevator.

“Requiring heat for a seasonal building used periodically through the fall athletic season is not only unnecessary but would substantially increase construction costs related to the project,” said Dr. Ryan Rowe, superintendent of Madison School District.

The district is preparing to put in bleachers in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and build a new press box and team room near the football field and track.

SB 294 now heads to the House of Representatives.