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Kenan Stadium bleachers
Kenan Stadium bleachers (Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

In January, UNC Athletics announced that the bleachers in Kenan Stadium would be replaced by 34,000 individual chair back seats to improve the fan experience. The seats will replace the bleachers in the upper and lower levels except for student sections.

When it came time to remove the aluminum bleachers, UNC Athletics sought out assistance from the Procurement Services Office and the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative.

“We wanted to make sure the bleachers were removed in the most environmentally and fiscally responsible way possible,” said Bubba Cunningham, Director of Athletics. “We’re thrilled that through this collaboration with Procurement and the Three Zeros staff, we were able to recycle the metal – and that after seating Carolina fans for years, these bleachers can hold a new purpose.”

When approached by UNC Athletics about the removal of the bleachers, Procurement Services worked with the Surplus Property Warehouse to estimate, based on the weight of one bench, the overall value of the aluminum and set a price point for the worth of the recycled aluminum.

“The Surplus team took a look at the quality of the bleachers before they were ever removed from the stadium to determine whether recycling the bleachers would be cost effective,” said Beau Jimmerson, Chief Procurement Officer. “The quality of the aluminum was excellent, so this then became a net-zero cost, green project.”

It became clear that the value of selling the metal would offset the cost of paying to remove the bleachers and power wash the stadium once the bleachers were removed.

About 200,000 lbs. of high-grade aluminum bleachers will be sold to L. Gordon Iron & Metal Company, which is a family business from Statesville, NC that specializes in recycling various types of metals, some of which may become aluminum beverage cans.

“UNC Athletics is a great example of a strong, committed partner in the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative,” said Brad Ives, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises and Chief Sustainability Officer. “In order for Three Zeros to have a positive impact on our broader community, we need organizations across Carolina to be a catalyst for change and seek opportunities that are environmentally beneficial.”

For more information about the installation of chairs in Kenan Stadium, view the release.

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