3 p.m. update: We’ve learned that IU expects the replacement of the field, which is to cost about $410,000, to be covered either by FEMA funds or the university’s insurance. That information comes from H-T reporter James Boyd who spoke this afternoon with IU Vice President and Chief Administration Officer Terry Clapacs in South Bend where the university’s trustees are meeting today.
11:30 a.m. update: IU has posted a brief statement on its athletics Web site saying that “the athletic department and the university are currently in negotiations to replace the existing turf with a state-of-the-art playing surface that will be installed and ready to use by the first week of August.”
That timetable would have the field ready for the Drum and Bugle Corps event that’s scheduled to draw thousands to Bloomington in early August.
Workers have begun tearing up the field at Indiana’s Memorial Stadium this morning, making it apparent that the field will be replaced.
Using a backhoe, three workers from Crider and Crider construction peeled off a one-inch layer of green grass-like fibers and rubber pellets, revealing a gravel surface below it. The turf was placed in large red dumpsters.
The field was damaged during the recent flooding in the Bloomington area, but IU officials said as recently as yesterday that no updates were available on the university’s plans to repair or replace the Astroplay turf field, which was installed in 2003 at a cost of about $450,000.
The damage centered around a manhole cover under the field in the south end zone, where the field surface sunk about a foot. Ripples in the field surface emanating from the area of the manhole cover ran past the 30-yard line, rendering a large portion of the field unusable.
No information was immediately available Thursday about the cost or timetable for the repairs. Athletic director Rick Greenspan said two weeks ago that he thought the repairs could cost $750,000 to $1,000,000, but that was before a detailed assessment of damage had been completed. IU athletics spokesman J.D. Campbell said this morning that the university will issue a formal announcement about the field in the next day or two.
We will update this story as we gather further information.