Construction crews may be leaving the Kenyon-Wanamingo high school field house, but there’s still work to be done on the football field.
After months of work on the new field — and an entire season of away games — district officials and contractors have discovered an error that will require re-doing parts of the project.
The issue lies in the crown, the high point in the center of the field designed to ensure proper runoff so the field doesn’t get bogged down with water. At its worst, certain areas are as much as six inches lower than in the district’s blueprints.
Superintendent Jeff Pesta, at Monday’s K-W School Board work session, attributed the problem to human error on the part of the contractors, who program field specifications into a GPS to ensure accuracy in field elevations.
“It’s a better field than they’ve played on at any time, but the crown is not where it’s supposed to be,” said Pesta, who added that the field is still draining, just not as it should be.
According to Pesta, the contractors involved in the project agree that it was their mistake. Since contractors don’t receive full payment until a project is completed to the original specifications, the issues can be fixed without additional cost to the district.
But this doesn’t mean players will have to play another season on the road. At this point, all four home games scheduled on the new field will take place as originally planned, said board members. The first varsity home game is scheduled for Aug. 29. The new track around the field is unaffected.
This left district officials and contractors with three options. One would be to redo and reseed the field this summer, which would mean the grass would be only half-established by the first game. Another option is to fix the field now and put down sod, but since this wasn’t included in the original specifications, it would be an extra cost to the district.
The district agreed to a third option, which would be to let the grass finish establishing, play games as scheduled, then adjust and reseed the field in the fall after the season is over. The team would still play one season on the incorrectly crowned field, but the issue would be fixed by spring 2020.
When a field doesn’t drain properly, players run the risk of tearing up the grass after wet weather during games where there isn’t much movement down the field, said Pesta. But regardless of the field’s condition, the field would be redone after the season.
“We’re guaranteed to have a perfectly crowned, perfectly established turf for next year or they don’t get paid,” said Pesta.
The new field is still in better condition than the old, said Rod Woock, board chair.
“It’s still a good field, it’s an irrigated field,” said Woock. “We want to get what we paid for.”