Motorists driving past LCHS’s Donell Woods Stadium probably can’t help but notice the backhoes and trackhoes among the newly exposed dirt and fill piles. The torn-up field currently is undergoing work to correct irrigation problems and improve turf conditions.
According to BoE Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer, the repairs should be complete by mid-July.
Titan Services won the $328,658 bid and plans to remove between 8-10 inches of soil, install a new irrigation system and lay down engineered soil. The previous irrigation system, which was faulty, left the field soggy.
Scherer said Ellis Wood Contracting, the original contractors for the project, will be kicking in $51,379 to help with the repairs because some of their work did not meet standards.
As the Courier reported earlier, the BoE will have to cover the balance, but members are asking the architectural firm of Buckley and Associates to cover part of the cost because some of the problems may be due to design flaws.
"As you have seen, they are working hard on the field and it is on schedule," Scherer said Tuesday. "The work is being done with Buckley and Associates continuing as the architect with no additional costs to the system. Mr. Buckley and the school system are carefully monitoring the work to ensure that it is done correctly. With the revised drawings for the field and the level of expertise provided by Titan, we are confident that the job will be completed efficiently and on time. We are working with Buckley and Associates to resolve all of the issues with the field but, as of today’s date, we do not have a commitment from Mr. Buckley."
Panther football coach Kirk Warner voiced his confidence in Titan. He said they’ve done work on major projects, including All-Tell Stadium, and did so within expected timeframes.
While work on the football field is under way, recent damage at LCHS from vandals and Mother Nature are being slowly assessed and repaired.
"Our facilities and maintenance crew is working to clean up and repair the damages done to the concession stands," Scherer said. "The panel box was completely destroyed by lightning and we are in the process of getting the required estimates for repairs."
With a new irrigation system and new turf, the stadium issues should be resolved in time for the Panthers’ planned home scrimmage against Wayne County on Aug. 21, and for their first regular season home opener Aug. 28 against McIntosh Academy. Kick-off times will be announced later.