Anyone who has been to a stadium before has seen many bleachers; that is, long rows of benches where spectators may sit down. Bleachers are essential for any indoor or outdoor area where many people will see a live event, ranging from sports to a music concert to religious services at a church, synagogue, etc. When it comes to indoor bleachers, these bleachers may be retractable, just like retractable stages, and outdoor bleachers might be fixed in place. Bleachers may vary somewhat in their material and whether they can retract, depending on need, and some bleachers can be quite comfortable and feature advanced engineering.
How may bleachers will a gymnasium, sports arena, or house of worship need? This is going to depend on how many people are intended to be there, and that figure can range widely for both indoor bleachers and outdoor ones. In a typical high school gymnasium, the bleachers may house a few hundred people or so, such as for watching indoor basketball games. But some bleachers are meant for enormous football stadiums, and there, the crowd size can get truly impressive. The state of Texas has some statistics on sports and gym arena sizes, and the figures show that the Lone Star State has 1,258 total high school stadiums. That’s going to be a lot of bleacher space among them all. What is more, in Texas alone, there are 10 different stadiums that can house 16,500 people or even more, and this means installing a lot of bleachers to give them all seating space. But other states have impressive arenas too, and the William Brice Stadium in South Carolina can seat in incredible 80,000 people at once.
Meanwhile, a high school football stadium or indoor gym may need only a modest collection of bleachers, and even then, these indoor bleachers tend to retract to save room when they are not in use. Bleachers take up a lot of room wherever they are, so their engineers have come up with creative solutions for them.
First is the example of indoor bleachers, such as in a gymnasium. These bleachers may have a metal skeleton that holds up all the seats and walking space when fully expanded, and there will be a lot of hollow space underneath. Motors and flexible joints allow these bleachers to retract and fold up to form a solid block against the wall, and they can expand slowly to unfold. Fully unfolded, these bleachers may form a stairway shape seen from the side, with the upper level against the wall and the lowest level extending the furthest from the wall. When fully folded up, these bleachers open up a lot of room for the gym’s use, such as for a PE class.
These indoor bleachers may be designed for serious comfort. Some models have curved plastic seats that are easier to sit on than flat metal ones, and they may have shallow divots in them, not unlike a chair. What is more, these bleachers will have aisles in them for people to walk up and down, and these aisles may include hand rails so that guests may stay steady while walking around.
What about outdoor bleachers, such as in a football stadium? It may not be practical nor necessary to make retractable bleachers to save room, since it’s a dedicated arena. Rather, the arena is made up of concrete, and it will have many steps and a stair-like pattern, with the lowest level reaching out the furthest. The bleacher seats are permanently fixed onto the concrete body, and they may vary somewhat in style. Some stadiums, such as a modest high school stadium, may have flat metal benches. A more luxurious football stadium, by contrast, may offer bleachers that resemble long rows of plastic chairs for maximum comfort. When guests pay money for game tickets and will spend hours in the stadium, they may arrive expecting some comfort, after all.