A sinkhole was discovered in the outfield of Woerner Field this past fall. Photo by Keegan Gupta, Flyer News.
Claire Owsiany | Contributing Writer
The past year and a half have held many repairs for the University of Dayton’s sports facilities. From the resurfacing and repainting of the tennis courts to the new turf on the football practice field and baseball stadium, there are a lot of repairs being done to improve conditions for our UD athletes.
Scott DeBolt, senior associate athletics director and executive director of UD Arena, discussed some of the repairs done over the past year and being done in the future.
The primary repair being discussed is at the Woerner Field, home of the Dayton Flyers Baseball Team. Woerner Stadium was initially a four million dollar project finished in 2005, with facilities such as a press box, concession stand, and restrooms, and then upgraded in 2017, adding a hitting and pitching facility with team rooms along right field.
In September 2021, a large sinkhole was found in the outer left field, ranging from about “10 feet wide and 8-to-10 feet deep” according to Head Baseball Coach, Jayson King. This also caused a borehole in the center field, jeopardizing the conditions of the stadium.
Previously, the baseball team was unsure where they would practice while the sinkhole occupied left field. In early September, when the sinkhole was found, the team had a little bit of missed time, until the end of October.
When speaking about the period of uncertainty, King stated, “The missed time was a little bit of an issue, but it wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but you know we couldn’t use the field for a few days, obviously we couldn’t play any games there, we couldn’t have our scout day there, but we just had to work around it. It wasn’t anything that would affect, overall, what we were trying to get done.”
Facilities “worked on a plan to alleviate it long term”, but as for a short-term solution, the sinkhole has been filled and covered, letting the baseball team take back their stadium for playing.
According to DeBolt, “They’re practicing there and having all their spring games and everything on the field…”, meaning they are still using Woerner stadium for all their practicing and playing.
DeBolt claimed, “We were looking at possibilities of turfing [the] baseball [field], we have been approved for that and our plan is to try to do that this summer. So we would turf both the infield and the outfield, that’s the current plan.”
A turf field would be extremely beneficial for UD because it ensures a more consistent and competitive competition. King claimed, “The result of that sinkhole is like an astronomically positive thing in the long run if we have turf and are playing on turf next year. It would be game-changing for the program — for the coaches in so many ways.”
DeBolt mentioned that the football practice field, Jerry Von Mohr Practice Facility, was recently turfed and has had a good outcome from that.
Plans to turf the baseball field will start after the spring season is over for the baseball team, and should be finished before fall rolls around.
As for other facilities, every four to five years the tennis courts are resurfaced and repainted. Dayton’s Graul Tennis Complex was scheduled to be refinished in 2020, but because of extenuating circumstances, it was never done, and then pushed off again in 2021. It is scheduled to be done this summer.
The refinishing includes resurfacing the courts, covering the cracks and “birdbaths”, which are small uneven dips in the court, and then repainting the court, as well as relining it.
The University declined to comment when asked about costs and funding.