The brilliant green of the artificial surface at Frank H. Chambers Stadium has been replaced with the grit and brown of sand and gravel until drainage can be improved at the Johnstown-Monroe High School facility.

The brilliant green of the artificial surface at Frank H. Chambers Stadium has been replaced with the grit and brown of sand and gravel until drainage can be improved at the Johnstown-Monroe High School facility.

According to principal Kim Jakeway, a waterway below the ground began seeping to the surface, causing sinkholes below the turf.

"From what I understand as a layman, there is a major aquifer under Johnstown and a tributary may have popped up," Jakeway said last Tuesday. "We encountered a problem with the integrity of the surface below the drainage mat with water getting under the surface."

Jakeway said the problem is not uncommon and actually happened with the turf at Ohio Stadium.

"From what I understand, when they put the turf in at OSU, they dug below flood plain of the Olentangy River and that caused the same problem there," Jakeway said.

"I believe the company that installed our turf - GeoSurfaces of Baton Rouge, La. - will come in and mix dirt, clay and some cement to help prevent this from happening again."

The Johnstown-based Chambers Foundation paid for the original installation of the turf.

"Hopefully, this will remedy the problems because we love the turf," Jakeway said. "Whether it's boys and girls soccer, football or band, you can use the field anytime, even when wet."

The work has forced coach and athletics director Mike Carter to make some changes in the summer schedule for his football program.

"We had to move our passing scrimmages away from home at the last minute, but like everything else, you just have to adapt and overcome," Carter said last Wednesday.

"The bottom line is still that you get a chance to play football."

Johnstown is to have three preseason football scrimmages, all at home. These include Aug. 10 with Mifflin, Aug. 14 with Licking Valley and Aug. 20 with Mount Gilead, Linden-McKinley and Columbus Independence.

"Right now, we're waiting to see if (the field) gets fixed in time," said Carter, who was told the project would be completed before Aug. 15.

"Originally, we were told it would be close in timing and hopefully they can get done in time to keep the scrimmages at home. We're kind of holding our breath and hopefully they will finish early so we won't have to move them."