Sewage issue fixed at Citizens Field
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 3:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 3:59 p.m.
On Friday, one of the biggest high school football games in recent history will take place at Citizens Field when Class 6A No. 1 Gainesville takes on Seffner Armwood in the Region 2 finals.
But there had been concerns about the facility since last Friday's 21-10 playoff win over Ocala Vanguard in which public restrooms as well as the home team and officials locker rooms were closed from halftime on because of backup sewage.
“It was an unpredictable blockage in a sewer line between Citizens Field and the nearby fire station,” said Charley Wise, athletic director at the Alachua County Public Schools. “We had standing water in locker rooms and restrooms. Imagine having a gigantic clog at your house. At the main sewage line, we literally have thousands of people flushing toilets, not all at once obviously. But once it is clogged up, everything is going to come back.”
The good news, Wise said, is that the sewage problem has been fixed, although it took hours after last Friday's game. W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractors, which has a contract with the school board, and Gainesville Regional Utilities were called in to fix the problem.
“I didn't get home until around 12:30 that night, but it was fixed when I left,” Wise said. “I had to send some people out the next day to sanitize the affected areas. But everything is ready to go now.”
The city of Gainesville and the school board signed a 40-year lease for Citizens Field in 1984, in which the school board is responsible for everything at the stadium, according to Wise.
“I had people out there working who are employed by the school board,” Wise said. “It was a terrible thing that happened, and the first time we have ever had a major sewage problem. I always check everything before a game, and left about 3:30 that day before last week's game. Everything was ready to go, just like any game.”
Gainesville football coach James Thomson said the stadium problems of last week “wasn't a big deal.”
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