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The Eisenhower High School football field is shown on Thursday. The Decatur school district has hired a consultant to evaluate why grass has not grown consistently on the field since high school renovations. 

DECATUR — A Chicago consultant has been hired by the Decatur School District to study ongoing drainage issues with the Eisenhower High School football field. 

There have been problems with grass growing on the field since its topsoil was removed and replaced as part of the Eisenhower renovation project that concluded in 2014, officials have said.

The district did not answer multiple requests for comment for this story. 

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Eisenhower's football field is shown Thursday. District officials are looking for answers about why the field has had consistent drainage problems. 

In January, the school board allowed more time to work with two contractors to fix problems with the field and avoid litigation, if possible. The agreement with Decatur-based BLDD Architects and Missouri-based Nicholas & Associates, both firms that worked on the renovation project, allowed them to work with the school district to fix drainage issues without eating up time on the statute of limitations for the district to file a lawsuit if a solution wasn't reached. 

At the Sept. 23 meeting, the board approved a contract with SmithGroup, a consulting firm in Chicago, to study the football field and identify issues that may contribute to the problems. To identify the problem, the firm will evaluate a number of factors, including the chemical makeup of the soil, what kind of traffic the field gets, maintenance and layout of the field, and drainage and irrigation systems.

SmithGroup plans to begin with a study of design drawings and specifications. The study approved by the school board would not exceed $7,000, paid at an hourly rate plus expenses.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter


Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Herald & Review.

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