Soggy football field in Manawa
Coach calls sideline ‘complete mud bath’
By Ben Rodgers
The Manawa School Board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee is accepting bids from three contractors to repair perpetually wet ground on the football field.
“This sideline is a complete mud bath,” said Brad Johnson, head football coach. “Players are getting stuck coming from the sidelines.”
The ground in question is a roughly 300-square-foot plot on the south sideline.
“As a group here we need to discuss where we’re at, what the things are,” said committee chair Russ Johnson. “As we can see we absolutely have a problem here.”
Three separate contractors attended the outdoor portion of the meeting on the football field; Tom Williams, from Green Boyz Lawncare in Appleton, Chase Rettler, a civil engineer from Rettler Corp., in Stevens Point, and Dan Peplinski, from Point of Beginning, also in Stevens Point.
“We’ve done a ton of athletic fields, we know the cost to do it and we know contractors that can do a great job,” Rettler said.
Point of Beginning did the field originally in 2012, but it was expected to take a few years for the field to settle. Still Peplinski said drainage problems like this are not a common occurrence.
“In his defense we got the woods and trees here and the sun isn’t shining all the time,” Johnson said.
The problem is also the mixture of materials underneath the field.
District Administrator Melanie Oppor said that part of the field is built on a bed of clay, which will not drain nearly as well as a sand and topsoil mix.
After some discussion the committee agreed on the terms of the bids.
Each bid will be for a soil amendment of 9 inches, covering 30 by 100 feet along the sideline, covering the surface with an athletic sod mix and the possibility of including under drain.
Even though the group is moving forward to fix the issue, the fact that it lingers on a newer playing surface displeased at least one person in attendance.
“We don’t even have the original $500,000 we put into this paid off, we are still fundraising,” said Shell Kaczorowski, Manawa Athletic Booster Club. “It’s really disheartening. I just want it fixed.”
Oppor said the district can afford to pay for these changes as part of a first phase. The field still needs work in other places, but money for that would become available at the start of the next fiscal year on July 1.
“I think comfortably in this budget, through the end of June spend $15,000 on this project,” Oppor said of the first phase.
Bids are due by 4 p.m. on April 28.
The committee also agreed to some energy efficiency recommendations for the full board.
Included in those are:
• A new dual boiler system for the elementary school
• A new chiller for the elementary school
• Variable air volume box replacement part for the elementary school
• Elementary school window replacements
• Roof repair or replacements at both schools
• Secure entryway for the elementary school
• Elementary school light sensor switches
• High school entryway double layer door replacement
• LED lighting for the elementary school, as appropriate
• District-wide exterior lighting for the athletic fields/complex and parking lots.