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Reconstruction on Pioneer Stadium begins
uwp crane
C.D. Smiths crane towers over Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium during work at the stadium on Monday morning.

     Repair work on UW–Platteville’s Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium is in full swing.
     The stadium suffered significant damage when a pair of tornadoes ripped through Platteville in the late night hours of Monday, June 16.
     A 250-foot crane arrived on site two weeks ago and began work on the precast cement forms that make up the step and bleachers of the stadium.
     Forty-six of the 25-foot long cement planks were pulled from the stadium and examined last week by general contractor C.D. Smith of Fond du Lac, who is overseeing the project.
     Five of the forms were deemed undamaged and have already been put back in their original places.
     “C.D. Smith is in the process of evaluating the rest of the planks to see which ones can still be used and which ones need replaced,” said UW–Platteville athletic director Mark Molesworth. “Some look OK. Some might be able to be repaired. Others definitely need replaced. The ones they plan on replacing will be precast right on site. They have not given us an exact timetable as to how long the entire process will take, but I suspect it won’t be too long.”
     Monday afternoon UW–Platteville tweeted that the inspection of the cement planks was complete and that five can be repaired, while 12 must be re-cast and completely replaced.
     As far as the field turf, Molesworth confirmed it must be completely replaced. The ProGrass field turf sustained multiple tears, was scattered with broken glass and debris from downed light towers and was actually picked up and moved in spots resulting in crooked lines.
     A new ProGrass field has already been designed to incorporate the Pioneers’ new crossed pick axes logo at midfield and will be installed in early fall. While no exact timetable has been set for the installation of the new turf due to the Pittsburgh-based ProGrass’ already booked summer schedule, Molesworth is optimistic of a mid-September install date.
     “Right now the best we are looking at is the second week of September, though nothing is finalized,” said Molesworth.
Other work required around the stadium is the replacement of all four light towers, reconstruction of some fencing and the installation of new visitor bleachers.
     “We will have to replace all four light towers,” said Molesworth. “We will meet with officials from Musco Lighting and discuss options for new light towers and power sources. The lighting is still a work in process.”
     Two light towers were bent completely in half and another suffered heavy damage.
     Contingency plans for both practice and games are being made in the event that the stadium is not ready when UW–Platteville men’s and women’s soccer teams are scheduled to kickoff their home schedules in last of August.
     The UWP men’s team is set to host its home opener on Friday, Aug. 29, while the women’s team is scheduled to host Cornell College (Iowa) on Sunday, Aug. 31. The Pioneer football team’s first home game is scheduled for Sept. 13 against the University of Dubuque.
     While nothing is official Molesworth named Dubuque as a possible location for Pioneer home games until the repairs at Pioneer Stadium are complete.
     “I don’t want to say too much because we haven’t finalized any contracts, but most likely we are looking to play our home games in Dubuque because of its proximity as well as the multiple locations,” said Molesworth. “Whatever we do we want to stay close to home, not only for student athletes and coaches, but also for any of our fans that might want to attend.”
     Platteville High School is scheduled to host Holmen on Thursday, Aug. 28 at Pioneer Stadium. PHS officials have been in contact with Belmont High School to discuss the possibility of playing its first two home games at Belmont.
     The annual Six Rivers Jamboree that was scheduled for Aug. 22–23 has already been cancelled and teams of the Six Rivers Conference will play their season openers at high school sites.