Manistique High School Stadium,
Track, and Field Construction Illusions



This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent to remain focussed on specific public issues, regarding the personalities involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their private lives and other public business...

Changes may be requested by E-MAILing the details to

Most of these images of the Manistique Area Schools new high school stadium, track, and field, along with others not published, record questionable observations made by me, Peter Markham, resident of the City of Manistique, in Schoolcraft County, Michigan, prior to my public comments at a Manistique Area Schools Board meeting, in late Spring of 2004. At that meeting, Manistique High School Stadium architect, Donald Morgridge, presented the results of a subsurface "radar" exploration to determine the possible cause for localized surface subsidences.

At the last public comment period, after Mr. Morgridge left, I asked the School Board if its members had taken a serious look at the stadium and field, and considered the likely implications of what they observed. I said I wasn't happy with the work I had photographed. I was told, by School Board Chairman Latterman, that all members had looked closely at the almost completed project.

Given that I heard little detail on the streets, and read little detail in the Pioneer Tribune, and heard little on the radio, I had little reason to believe him. Given my view of the world, that is markedly different than most other folks, most of the time, I took a serious interest in what I, alone, had promoted in a serious and public manner.

From my perspective, the new facility looked like a turkey, while every one else was making public noises about a swan, with a few warts.

I reasoned that the school board was inclined to accept the grossly flawed work of a project that the board had made no serious effort to promote.

Whatever the impetus, some two weeks after my public comments, it was reported that the project was not going to be accepted, and shortly thereafter it was reported that legal proceeding were started to deal with a project that was unacceptable.

It is my ignorant layman's opinion that the stadium, track, and field, the basic concept of which I promoted, are seriously flawed, in a manner that cannot be "fixed", equitably, for those that pay the bills.

What connection exists between surface or fill settling and various concrete and block fractures, I do not know. What relationship there may be between faulty material and efflorescence stains, block fractures and concrete fractures, I can only wonder. What "cause and effect" association exists between architectural design flaws, and the accumulation of moisture upon and within the structure, I can only speculate. What "corner cutting" building practices were responsible for some of the grief I see, I can only surmise. What lack of project engineering construction oversight led to obvious and hidden quality control problems, I can only guess. What the cause and effect relationships between any and all that I have seen, photographed and considered, is no more than my conjecture. But regardless of my lack of professional credentials, I have no doubt that serious problems exist, that cannot be solved easily, or economically.

The linked photographs document my various observations, and provide a basis for my speculative reasoning and conclusions.

The images that I provide, and that part of my life invested in them, and the attendant knowledge associated with them, are not free for commercial use.

If they help to bring an equitable solution to the recently announced February, 2005, mediation efforts, I will be relatively happy, regarding my involvement in a soured community dream; a dream that I promoted and others corrupted.

Each image file name relates to a construction subject of interest, and my cynicism and sarcasm.

Critical judgement is useful to consider the effects of problem symptoms I photographed. Tilted light poles and awry fence gates are merely cosmetic in nature and advertise nothing more than poor quality control and the ignorance and ineptness of those that considered themselves qualified to perform or supervise the work.

In less than a year after substantial completion, multiple fractures of blocks, masonry joints, pre cast structural concrete members, and poured concrete, speak of major structural defects that will foster accelerated weather damage, overall deterioration of the facilities, and increased user problems.

The lack of pitch to most of the stadium's horizontal surfaces, exposed to the weather, indicates, to me, a serious design flaw that will accelerate weather related deterioration, in numerous ways. Many are the safety hazards, implicit in slippery wet or frozen surface moisture, traversed by the distracted or lame, during sports events. I can only imagine the future damage, and use problems, from water intrusion through numerous expanding fractures, and deteriorating calk.

As for the likelihood of further "sinkholes" forming under the track and field, I consider that eventuality, within the next decade, as not a matter of if, but when.

So far, within my severely limited knowledge of the particulars, I was pleased by the refusal of the "new" M.A.S. Superintendent, Esther Mudge, to accept the stadium project. I hope that the solutions to problems that I am aware of, and those that I am not, are mediated in a manner that I find equitable and acceptable.

It has occurred to me, in my relative ignorance, that it is likely that a "deal" may be struck for the school district to accept the stadium project at a discount. It is anathema, to me, to accept a project that, in my opinion, disregarding a litany of "petty" problems, is broken beyond repair.

That said, I could live, quietly, with a discount that was deep enough, with the money "invested" in some secure interest bearing account, c.d.s, etc., reserved for consequential stadium, track and field repairs. I would have no serious objections, as long as the account would be sufficient, and reserved to meet the foreseeable consequences of the current design and construction deficiencies, that will occur over the next 60 years.

As for damages, regarding lost athletic opportunities for others - past, present and future, - I have no way to value them.

For those that may wonder why I refer to all my images as documents of "illusion"; I was told, by some that had a degree of responsibility for oversight, that my awareness of tilted stadium light poles, and other problems, were relatively "inconsequential" or "illusion". Rather than waste any more of my life contradicting those that imply my continued illusions and dementia, I choose to document both, and let history be the judge of who possesses the more faulty perception of what is inconsequential, illusion, or dementia.

My knowledge of what is of concern to me, regarding the stadium facilities, is a consequence of my personal interest and observations. No information was offered by anyone with any authority regarding any part of the project. Beyond the eventual refusal to accept the stadium project, I read and heard nothing from the news media, regarding the specifics of why. I seldom read the local newspaper, in a comprehensive manner, or listen to the local radio station for more than 15 minutes a week, so if what I consider at my web site is old news, ignore it.


Yesterday I took another self guided tour of the stadium, track and field facilities, after hearing rumors of a leaking press box roof and a pending settlement to "fix" the facilities. What follows are my personal observations and opinion.

All the stadium doors were locked, so I had no access to any interior areas.

The apparent number of fractured precast tiers was significantly greater, this Spring, than last. I did not mark, or count the fractures last year, or this.

The "sink hole" had reformed, inside of the south curve of the track.

Most of the repaired concrete freeze damage around the railings had had been shattered.

New freeze damage had occurred at numerous new stadium railing locations, especially at the perimeter railings.

The press box roof leaked, with consequential ceiling tile damage, water stains, and possible lower interior damage, if the water found its way through press box floor fractures or other points of access.

A slow Spring thaw, with very little rain, or consequential community flooding, deposited sufficient soil debris on the track to suggest, to me, a requirement for slope drainage control.

 © 2005