BENTON—A 4-foot decline from the west end of Benton’s football field to the east end will take approximately 335 loads or 14 cubic yards of dirt to level. Even more dirt will be needed to add a crown to help with the drainage of excess water from the field.
In October, the school’s football field was assessed by students from UW-Platteville’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). As part of a community service project and at no cost to the school, UW-Platteville students surveyed the field to determine what was needed to fix the reverse crown, or dip in the middle of the field. The group also assessed an area across the road for a practice field. Students presented their findings at the December school board meeting.
“I’ve walked across that football field and I knew there was a little difference, but I wouldn’t have guessed it was 4 foot,” School administrator Kyle Luedtke said. “That was disappointing. We were shocked by 335 truckloads. I don’t know how much a load of dirt costs, much less 335 of them.”
ASCE also discussed leveling the field by moving dirt from the high end to the low end, but an estimated 200 loads of dirt would still be needed for that. The edges of the field would still be higher and water would pool on the field. The football field also shares space with centerfield of the baseball field.
The school applied to the National Guard last fall to seek assistance with the project. The National Guard does training throughout the state and Benton’s football field may fit the National Guard’s needs while meeting Benton’s needs.
Dan Pulvermacher of Benton, a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, told the school board on Jan. 12 that the 335 loads of dirt didn’t have to be topsoil. Instead, it could be fill, and there could be a local source for that.
“He wanted to let the board know that it’s not out of the realm of possibility,” Luedtke said. “We kept our application with the National Guard still submitted and we’re going to do some searching around here to see if there is a place to get some fill. He said the National Guard could take the top soil off, dig down to take the dirt and put the topsoil back. He said maybe even on our side hill we’d have enough. He would have to bore down to get a soil sample to see.”
Luedtke said ASCE determined the hill wasn’t large enough for a practice field.
“It wasn’t large enough to get a full practice field in and, because of how close it is to the building, we would have to put in a retaining wall, so they didn’t pursue that because they thought with the cost of putting in a retaining wall we wouldn’t approach that,” Luedtke said.
No action has been taken at by the school board for this project other than applying to the ASCE and National Guard. The board is still seeking more information.