Verona’s home football games will have to be moved off of the main football field to a lower field, school officials said late last week.
That’s because of a sinkhole has opened on the field and a preliminary report showing there are other problems underneath the field’s surface – including metal under the field’s northeast corner.
Superintendent Steven Forte said Friday that the district has gotten the preliminary results of a scan of the field. Based on the report, the district is moving forward with a plan to move the five home games to the lower field at Verona High School, Forte said.
At a recent football practice, a shaft measuring three feet wide and 15 feet deep opened up on the field causing practice to be moved for the athlete's protection.
The engineering firm French and Parrello Associates conducted a study of the field using ground-penetrating radar and found metal under the field that may be rebar, said Verona Board of Education Member Glenn Elliott.
Board President John Quattrocchi said moving the games to the lower field was not without its challenges, “The only problem with the lower field is that it is missing a couple of things. It (the lower field) doesn't have seats, bathrooms, electricity, goal posts, a scoreboard or a press box.”
He said the township put together a plan for the district with a contractor.
"The plan is ready to be executed,” Quattrocchi said. “The field is already lined but they will bring in the bleachers, electricity lines, a press box, portable toilets and fencing.”
"The town is helping with everything," said Forte. "We are renting temporary bleachers and porta-johns. The town is also helping by installing the fence. We are still working on a solution for the scoreboard."
They have already begun installing goal posts for the first home game of the season on September 22. For now, it looks as if they may be on the lower field for the whole season, said Forte.
The estimated cost for moving the games to the lower field for the duration of the season will be about $21,000, he said.
The investigation into the problems under the surface of the field is continuing, school officials said. "Right now we don't know exactly what it is," said Forte. "They are going to have to dig to find out. (The preliminary report) warrants further exploration."