AUSTIN (KXAN) — House Park usually serves as the home for Austin ISD football and soccer teams, but during Monday’s floods, it was better suited for a swim meet.
As Shoal Creek rose above its banks it flooded Lamar Boulevard and spilled into House Park, rising up to as high as the second row of bleachers in the stands. It was a sight AISD Athletic Director Leal Anderson had never seen.
“This is a really, really devastating event,” said Anderson. “I turned on the news and saw a river flowing through House Park and a person had to be rescued right outside the gates. That was just amazing. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life.”
The floodwaters were strong enough that some of the fencing around the stadium was torn down. In the aftermath, the field and surrounding parking lot were both caked in mud and with leaves and logs strewn about. But the most expensive part of the damage is the artificial turf. It was installed in 2008 to replace the natural grass surface at a cost of about $60,000.
While Anderson does not know for sure whether or not the turf is permanently ruined, he fears it is and will have to be replaced. If that is the case, he is hopeful insurance will cover the cost.
If the turf is replaced, it could interfere with football season. AISD has 11 schools that play football, but only three stadiums for them to play in with House Park, Nelson Field and Burger Stadium. If House Park is unavailable for use, it would create a scheduling nightmare.
“It’d be really tough,” Anderson said. “We’d be in a bind for sure. We’d have to do the best we can with scheduling to to try to get the teams to play the games where they need to play them at. We’d have to be really creative with our scheduling. That’s something that we’ll start to work on just in case to have a plan in place. A ‘Plan B,’ if you will.”
Most immediately, the field being usable most affects the Austin Aztex, who also call House Park home.
The Aztex are in the middle of their season, but are on a four-game road trip, with their next home game scheduled for June 20. They have already begun a search for a new stadium to call home for the rest of the season if House Park is unavailable.