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Flooding Ruins Gym Floor at Northwood University

Brock Fritz

Northwood University has lost its basketball court due to severe flooding in central Michigan.

According to MLive.com, heavy rain and the May 19 collapse of the Edenville Dam ruined a number of athletic and recreational facilities at the NCAA Division II university in Midland. Northwood director of athletics Dave Marsh said the flooding brought about six inches of water into Bennett Sports Center and Riepma Arena, warping the court on which Northwood plays its basketball and volleyball games.

“The floor is ruined,” Marsh said, noting that the floors in the rec center, weight room and dance room are also destroyed. “We’ve already taken out the wood floor and we’re going to have to replace that. Any room that had carpet, we’ve had to rip it out, and anything that was near the ground we have to replace.

“There were some tears shed looking at it all. We’ve done a lot to build up our facilities over the years. We believe in Northwood and what it stands for, so to see all of this is kind of emotional. Then you say ‘Well, we’ve got to step up and get it all back.’ And hopefully it will be even better than before.”

Photos of Northwood University’s football field surfaced last week, with the $750,000 AstroTurf field floating on top of flood water at Hantz Stadium.

“Our head of maintenance sent me the photo and my first reaction was ‘Wow! The football field looks great,” Marsh said of the field, which was installed in 2018. “Well, not really. He was kayaking around out there and said the field is actually floating on top of the water.”

The extent of the damage — and the resulting costs — are unknown. The damage to the football field appears to be less severe than the indoor facilities, although Marsh says the track surrounding the field likely needs to be replaced. The soccer, baseball, softball and tennis facilities are undamaged.

Marsh said that the university is working to get everything up and running in time for the fall semester.

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