BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – The Friday night lights at Gene Malcolm Stadium won’t be as bright on the south end of the Virginia High School Bearcats homestand for their football season opener.

A portion of the home bleachers will be closed due to repairs to the structural integrity of the bleachers. Bristol, Virginia Mayor Neal Osborne said that this is expected to only impact the team’s first home game.

“They were just going in and addressing any kind of structural deficiencies underneath them to kind of solidify them and shore them up,” Osborne said.

Osborne said that the cost of repairs is well within the city’s budget. He said that due to repairs being under $10,000, they were able to skip the process of taking bids for having the work done.

The ongoing construction is not expected to impact the usual gameday experience for fans. Bristol City Schools Director of Student Activities Brad Harper said that the Bearcat Band will be moved from its normal spot on the home side to the north end of the away section.

“All we’ve really done is move our band to the visiting side and then moved the visiting band to the other end of the visiting side,” Harper said. “So we don’t really expect there to be major delays.”

Gene Malcolm Stadium will be the home of the National Premier Soccer League’s (NPSL) Bristol Rhythm starting next year. The NPSL season runs in the spring and summer which wouldn’t conflict with football season in the fall.

Osborne said that he wants a more long-term fix for the stadium’s bleachers due to the increased use of the facility that’s expected to begin next year.

“We want to address the problem before it’s a big problem,” Osborne said. “We need to already be having our conversation about how we’re going to deal with this for ten years from now, twenty years from now.”

The first emphasis of a long-term fix is addressing the bleachers. Osborne said that fixing some cosmetic issues and providing the best experience possible for players and fans is also part of that equation.

The Virginia High School Bearcats will begin their season on Friday as they host Patrick Henry High School.