Chancellor, coach hope repairs will be completed by start of school, season
Damages caused by EF2 tornado could top $10 million, officials say
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — It has been over a week since an EF2 tornado ripped through Platteville and the university.
Officials are still surveying the damage, but they said the cleanup could top $10 million.
The campus has laid out an 80-day plan to clean up and repair residence halls and the stadium.
“I don’t feel like I am working. I love just being around the kids and teaching the game,” said Platteville men’s soccer coach Enzo Fuschino, who is entering his eighth season with the Pioneers. “We have a great group of kids here in Platteville. I enjoy every minute of it.”
But Fuschino’s world was turned upside down last Tuesday when he saw the damage to the stadium where the Pioneers play their home games.
“I was faced with a surreal scene; it was very painful and brought tears to my eyes. This is a beautiful facility and just seeing the damage the storm had done, it was just heartbreaking,” Fuschino said.
There are 12 men’s home games this season and Fuschino said they have to replace the turf, bleachers and lights, so he is preparing for different options earlier in the season, especially for preseason practices.
“Everyone is working feverishly to make sure not only the stadium but the rest of the buildings on campus get ready for our school year to start and for our season to start,” Fuschino said.
Campus officials said the good news is no one was seriously hurt and no major buildings need to be rebuilt, just repaired.
“You plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best case, and we have every reason to believe we won’t have to do anything dramatic, ” UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields said.
And everyone is on the same team moving forward.
“This is a very strong community. It’s a very tight community and everyone came together to come here on Tuesday afternoon and see a bunch of athletes and coaches just picking up stuff on the field,” Fuschino said.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams as well as the football team play their home games at Pioneer Stadium. They are looking into alternative locations for games and practices. Dubuque or even Madison are possible options, but the chancellor hopes the stadium will be ready by September.
University officials also said they were able to reschedule about 200 students who missed orientation when the campus was shut down for two days last week.