Flood damages Waynesburg U. football field

December 20, 2016
A view of Waynesburg University’s football field at Wiley Stadium that experienced flooding Sunday. University officials say the damage to the artificial turf was so extensive that it must now be replaced. - Bob Niedbala/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – The rushing water from Sunday morning’s flood in Greene County severely damaged the artificial turf at Waynesburg University’s football field, meaning the field surface will most likely need to be replaced before the start of next season.

About four or five feet of muddy water overflowing from nearby Ten Mile Creek covered the field surface at Wiley Stadium, causing the turf to buckle and wrinkle in spots and leaving a thick layer of silt across the facility, according to Heidi Szuminsky, vice president for institutional advancement and university relations.

Szuminsky said it’s expected to cost about $500,000 to replace the artificial turf, although she did not know if insurance would cover the cost of the repairs. She said the work should be completed before the start of the football season in August.

“The field turf is buckled,” Szuminsky said. “There are places that are bubbled up and wrinkled, so we’re pretty sure we’ll need to replace it.”

The artificial turf was installed in 2006.

A foot of water also reached the field house on the southern side of the field that contains the locker rooms, Szuminsky said, but the damage there was “minimal” and should be easy to repair.

“There have been other times with water coming up, but not what you would call flooding,” Szuminsky said of previous flood problems in that area.

Several other athletic venues at the university’s multi-sport complex about a mile west of Waynesburg also were damaged in the flood. The baseball field at the complex sustained damage to its infield and there was a layer of mud on the tennis courts and around.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of cleanup to do on the tennis courts and around there,” Szuminsky said.

Meanwhile, a crew from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency spent a second day in Greene County to view the scope of the damage and determine whether the area would be eligible for state or federal disaster funding. Greene County Emergency Management Director Greg Leathers toured the area with the crew Tuesday and said they found that the vast majority of damage was from flooded basements.

“Surprisingly, a good number of people had insurance,” Leathers said. “But there are some sad stories out there – people with no insurance and who lost everything.”

He did not know when PEMA would make a decision on whether disaster relief funds would be available to affected homeowners.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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