Clean-up and damage assessment continues at the UW–Platteville following an EF-2 tornado that ripped through the southwest side of campus late last Monday evening.
The tornado significantly impacted several areas of campus, including Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium, Rountree Commons, Bridgeway Commons, Southwest Hall, Engineering Hall, the Greenhouse, as well as Memorial Park.
Across campus the carnage included broken windows, partial roof destruction, downed and split trees, and heavy damage to a number of vehicles.
Damage at the stadium included bent light towers, upheaved and displaced precast cement planks on the stadium, bent and distorted bleachers, downed trees, mangled fencing and damage to the Fieldturf. There were no fatalities and no significant injuries that required medical attention on campus.
A group of UW–Platteville football and soccer players, coaches, UWP staff members and summer student employees were at the stadium Wednesday morning clearing debris from the field.
Assessment activities are continuing on campus this week with UW–Platteville staff, UW System staff, insurance teams and engineering groups. According to UWP officials no dollar amount has been determined, and no dates for the building re-openings have been set yet.
“We are still in the assessment phase at this point,” said UW–Platteville athletic director Mark Molesworth in a phone interview on Friday. “We have a lot of people looking at the damage, our people, insurance people and engineering experts from outside the university, but no final assessment has been made. We are talking to all the appropriate people to determine the next line of action.”
General Contractor C.D. Smith is scheduled to begin the reconstruction process at the stadium this week.
“C.D. Smith will have a crane on site early this week and will start working on dismantling the damaged pieces to see where we go from there,” said UW–Platteville Director of Facilities Pete Davis.
At least three light towers, possible all four, the damaged bleachers, some fencing as well as the displaced cement planks must be replaced, but the stadium is far from a total loss.
As of Monday it is still unknown if the Fieldturf will have to be completely replaced or just patched. There are a number of rips in the turf as well as debris from the fallen light towers and trees.
“No decision has been made on the turf as of now,” said Davis. “A decision will be made with the company that installed the new turf (Pro Grass) sometime this week. There is still a lot of debris on the field and obviously you don’t want a bunch of broken glass on your football field. Now it’s a question of weather or not we can successfully get that out of there without having to replace the whole thing.”
According to Davis all the damage to the stadium looks to be repairable, but there is currently no timetable has been established for when the stadium will be reopened.
“Things are going to start moving pretty quickly,” said Davis. “We should know a lot more about the path the stadium is taking and have a better timetable in the next week or two.”
The UWP men’s soccer team is scheduled to report for fall camp on Friday, Aug. 15, while the women’s soccer team will report Monday, Aug. 18. The Pioneer football team will report on Saturday, Aug. 16. All three teams typically practice at Pioneer Stadium.
The men’s soccer team is scheduled to host its first home game Friday, Aug. 29 against Wisconsin Lutheran. The women’s team is scheduled to open its season at home Sunday, Aug. 31 versus Cornell College (IA).
The Pioneer football team is scheduled to host its first home game Sept. 13 against Dubuque.
Platteville High School, which uses Pioneer Stadium for its varsity football games, is scheduled to host its first home game of the season at the stadium on Thursday, Aug. 28 against Holmen.
The Six Rivers Football Jamboree that was scheduled for Aug. 20–21 will likely not be held at Pioneer Stadium this fall.
“We are looking at contingency plans for everything from locker rooms, to practice facilities, to game facilities,” said Molesworth. “We have to be prepared for every scenario just in case.”
Elsewhere around campus youth camps were cancelled for the remainder of last week. Camps scheduled for this week were set to resume as planned, with the exception of the scheduled engineering camp, which will not be held.
Continued status information will be posted on the university website at www.uwplatt.edu. Social media channels, including the university Facebook page and Twitter account will also be posting updated information.