Zorn, Kahle bills would exempt football press boxes from being heated

LANSING, Mich. — Should football stadium press boxes be required to be heated as “occupied” spaces? Sen. Dale Zorn and Rep. Bronna Kahle say no and have introduced legislation to clarify the law.

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.

“Our legislation is about inserting some common sense into the current law and ending a ridiculous delay to a local school construction project,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We are hoping for quick passage of this reform to resolve this disagreement and prevent local taxpayer dollars from being wasted.”

Senate Bill 294 and House Bill 4548 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.

“This legislation shouldn’t be necessary, but putting a permanent heating system into the press box would add $250,000 to the cost, and appealing the state’s interpretation could last until mid-summer,” said Kahle, R-Adrian. “Our reform would allow Madison schools to move forward with their upgrades this summer and ensure no other school has to deal with this issue.”

Madison School District is preparing to place bleachers in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and build a new press box and team room near the football field and track.

“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, Madison School District superintendent. “I sincerely appreciate the support and efforts of Senator Zorn and Representative Kahle. It is the district’s intent to put local contractors to work and accomplish this project in the very near future.”

SB 294 has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee and HB 4548 has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee.