CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Chesapeake Public Schools have closed down the bathrooms at Colon L. Hall Stadium as they deal with an issue of water leaking into the areas. The stadium is home to Great Bridge High School’s football team, among other sports.
The Virginia Department of Health recently received a complaint about mold and standing water. After an evaluation from the health department, the school division was told to close the restrooms to the public until the leaking water problem was fixed.
The mold may just be one of many problems for a stadium, many say, is run into the ground, and the Wildcat Gridiron Booster Club says it is fed up with problems that never seem to get fixed.
“As a city asset we are all tax payers. Everybody in Chesapeake should be up in arms about the way these facilities have been maintained, this is beneath what Great Bridge is,” says Booster Club VP Patrick Hilton.
Studies of the stadium in 2008 and 2013 found that the bleachers were structural sound, even with cracks. However, after water proofing and caulking measures, water still continued to make its way into the restrooms.
10 On Your Side obtained a letter dated October 16, 2012 from the Great Bridge’s principal and the Chesapeake Health District Director: “Our stadium locker rooms, concession stands, and restrooms are closed to allow orders to be completed. We have experienced some leaking and water damage in these settings recently.”
“Great Bridge has not made it’s voice loud enough and it is time for us to be heard. We need our issues addressed,” says Hilton
So in 2013, all access underneath the stadium, except the restrooms, was prohibited. But the bathrooms briefly reopened, but closed down again Monday due to mold concerns. You can see the mold in the ceiling of one of the portable locker rooms where there is no running water.
Thursday night the JV cheerleaders changed and put on makeup in a porta-john outside the stadium.
“Yea that’s rough. I cant imagine anybody thinking it’s okay for their daughter to be putting on makeup and changing in a porta-potty in front of what is considered to be a city maintained asset,” says Hilton.
Chesapeake’s Capital Improvement Plan does include renovating or replacing the stadium. But there is currently no timetable for when the bathrooms will be back open.
The Chesapeake School Board released the following statement:
Per our Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), in 2008 cracking was noticed in the concrete bleachers at the Great Bridge High School’s stadium (Colon L. Hall Stadium). A structural engineer evaluated the facility and determined that the concrete bleachers were structurally sound. Even with temporary measures, such as caulking and water proofing undertaken, additional water migration issues continued.
As a result, a second structural engineering evaluation was performed in 2013 and again concluded the bleachers were structurally sound; however, water continued to leak into the interior spaces. This water migration creates an environment susceptible to mold. It was determined that no additional temporary repairs were available to solve this on-going problem, so in April of 2013 access was restricted to all areas under the stadium (except for the restrooms). After those areas were closed, we continued to monitor and clean the restrooms regularly.
Over the summer the city received an anonymous complaint. The Health Department requested to evaluate the restrooms. On September 18, 2017, the school division received a recommendation from the Health Department to secure the restroom facilities and deny access to the public. Based on this recommendation, the restrooms were closed that day before the end of the work day.
Port A Johns are now in place, and we are proceeding with a portable restroom at this facility. Our CIP includes plans to renovate/replace the stadium.