The voter’s rejection last month of a bond package to rescue Greensboro’s stadium built as a memorial to World War veterans has sent those dedicated to saving the 80 year old monument scratching their heads. How can the city-owned structure be conserved and reused with little in the way of appropriated funds, especially in a tight economy. More importantly, how can this memorial built to honor the sacrifices made by Guilford County’s citizens so long ago survive in a new world of tightened budgets and a seemingly disconnected citizenry?
The future of War Memorial has been questioned since efforts began to replace to facility in the 1990s. The use of the stadium as a Minor League baseball field was discontinued in 2005, but the facility is still used to host 250 collegiate, and PONY league baseball games per year. Recent discussions have ventured into possible reuses of the facility away from baseball.
However, before the landmark can be saved, issues centered on the deteriorating concrete superstructure must be fully examined and understood. Surface examinations have revealed areas of spalling and cracking (image, lower right), but investigation has only delved skin-deep. Are the clues given on the surface of the concrete indicative of a massive system failure, or are they simply cosmetic blemishes resulting from isolated examples of poor craftsmanship?
If only we could examine the inside of the concrete…
Thanks to Underground Imaging Technologies (UIT), a company based in Albany, New York, we may be able to do just that. UIT focuses on improving the safety, accuracy and efficiency of operations related to design, construction and overall management of subsurface infrastructure. The company uses cutting-edge technology such as ground penetrating radar to address issues with structural systems – in the case of Greensboro’s War Memorial, that means examining what’s going on inside the concrete.
A proposal for UIT to examine the memorial is forthcoming as a step to understanding the future of the memorial. Considering the site is one of only two impressive memorials to those who made the supreme sacrifice in the First World War in North Carolina (the other is the Memorial Bell Tower at NC State), a careful understanding of the challenges of the site is the least we can do.
OK, I must be totally out of it, but where was this project in the last referendum? I thought we voted for or against renovation of War Memorial Auditorium. What did I miss?
Yes Joe, the citizens of Greensboro voted against a bond package that would have included extensive renovation of the stadium. However, the city still owns a property asset and memorial to war dead that it must manage, in some fashion.