Weekend flooding threatened Deshler High School stadium renovations

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Under a deadline which has zero wiggle room, lots of folks in Tuscumbia were holding their breath as torrential downpours fell on Sunday. Mother Nature put renovations and flood mitigation to the test at Howard Chappell Stadium, days before their home opening game.

Tuscumbia Schools Superintendent Darryl Aikerson has been a bit anxious over the last couple of weeks. Renovations are wrapping up on a $1.7-million project at the stadium. His anxiousness turned to uneasiness Sunday afternoon.

“We had a major test yesterday. I think we received anywhere between 8 and 9-inches of rain,” Aikerson explained. “That just overwhelmed the city, it overwhelmed us.”

In minutes, Cave Street turned into a raging river. New drainage lines ushered storm run-off into a retention pond behind the stadium’s visitor section. Aikerson says water did reach the new artificial turf, but it was nothing compared to previous flooding events.

“They are here now working to try and shore up everything; to make sure if we have another torrential rain or down pour we’ll be ready for it,” said Aikerson.

Once a pump kicked on Sunday, water immediately drained from the field. For the most part Aikerson says they have gotten what they hoped for.

“There’s no water on the field. The field looks great and we are ready to go.”

Also with Sunday’s test at the stadium, they determined that the retention ponds and storm drain channels on the west side of the stadium might need to be redesigned. They have called in an engineering firm to take a look. But no matter what, they will be playing at Howard Chappell Stadium on Friday night.

A second drainage pump is set to be installed at the Howard Chappell Stadium retention pond, to help move water out of the area even faster. It will drain into nearby Spring Creek.