The artificial playing surface at Austin High’s first on-campus stadium is rolled back in four places, but school officials said depressions — apparently caused by excessive rain in April and May — will be fixed before players report for camp in late July.
Decatur City Schools project manager Lee Edminson said contractors will bring in a drill rig next week to pump grout into the depression areas.
“We will have this fixed by the time Austin is ready to play football,” he said.
Workers with Canada-based Fieldturf installed the playing surface at Austin and Decatur, but Edminson said he’s not prepared to say who would absorb the financial cost of fixing the problems.
Austin’s first game at the stadium is slated for Aug. 31 against rival Decatur, according to head football coach Jeremy Perkins. He said the team does not have a jamboree game scheduled in the stadium, and Austin opens the season at Hartselle.
Edminson said several geo-technical engineers have looked at the depressions and concluded they are settlements likely caused by heavy rain.
He said the school district ran ground-penetration radar over the field, and no sinkholes were found in the stadium near Modaus Road and Shady Grove Lane Southwest.
Contractors put down gravel at the stadium in May 2017, but the turf was not rolled out until December.
On Thursday, the turf was rolled back in four areas, with the biggest area being from the 35-yard line to the hash marks and end zone on the home side.
The football stadium, which sits on 77½ acres with Austin’s new 230,000-square-foot academic wing, was bid as an alternate package with an estimated cost of $4.7 million. The package includes an athletic complex that will be shared by boys and girls, a practice field with a track near Bunny Lane Road, and the Black Bears’ first on-campus baseball and softball fields.
The football field, which has brick entrances similar to most college stadiums, is the centerpiece of the athletic facilities.
Workers at the site this week were doing everything from completing roof work at the baseball and softball fields to pouring concrete at field house entrances.
Edminson said everything at the athletic facilities — including the football field — should be complete by mid-July.
Austin has shared Ogle Stadium on the Decatur campus with the Red Raiders since 1963.
Athletic facilities were a major component of the discussions, especially for residents in Southwest Decatur, before plans were announced to construct the high schools. During the majority of the almost 20 community meetings the school district held, Austin’s students and fan base pushed for their own stadium.
Austin’s stadium will have a 5,030-seat capacity, which is about 3,000 less than Ogle, but school leaders said there is room to bring in portable bleachers, if needed.