Officials at the Bay-Waveland School District said Monday that there is a genuine concern that renovations at Joe D. McCullough Stadium may not be completed in time for opening night of the 2014 football season.
A few months ago, the school district awarded a $690,000 contract for improvement at the stadium, which included installation of a new turf field.
Work, however, was stopped on June 17 after problems arose with the water table underneath the field.
Since then, the field has remained dormant.
"We have a lot of concerns," school board Trustee Clevand Williams said Monday. "This is not going to be a quick fix. When we start talking about losing all of our home games, that hurts."
Architect Taylor Guild said problems with the field began because of wet conditions and the water table underneath the field.
Making matters worse, he said, heavy equipment used on the field brought more moisture to the surface.
"The excavated soil was wet," Guild said. "It went from bad to worse."
Guild suggested a change order to the project, which he said will allow the contractor to finish the field in time for Bay High's first scheduled home game on Aug. 29.
Guild suggested excavating another 12 inches of soil, overlaying that with cloth and sand, and then adding 12 inches of crushed limestone on top before covering it with the artificial turf.
"If the change order is approved, work can resume Thursday," Guild said.
The school board ultimately approved the change order, but asked why soil samples were not taken before construction began.
"I think we should have done some soil testing," Trustee Mike Benvenutti said. "I have no doubt that we would have paid for it. We will pay for it now, but you (Guild) should pay for anything extra for the rest of the job."
Guild agreed to Benvenutti's request and reiterated that the field should be ready in time for the season.
Williams, however, said he wanted assurances that the project was not going to be rushed just for completion.
"I'm concerned about a quick fix and then having to do this all over again next year," he said. "We just don't have that type of money. We want it to be safe for our kids and the opposing kids who come here to play."
Guild said the original completion date was Aug. 8. He said the contractor was only asking for a 14-day extension, meaning the field should be ready for Aug. 22, a week before opening night.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the change order. Dr. Sherry Ponder was absent from the meeting and did not vote.