Playing in the mud

Hoping for something prettier and a little more useful than a gaping pit near its campus at the end of Vice Canyon, Western Nevada Community College is proposing an amphitheater-like sports venue that could host its budding women's soccer program.

"There's got to be some kind of facility there," said WNCC Vice President Helaine Jesse. "We can't just have this huge hole."

Working with the city to protect Carson City and the college campus from possible floods, WNCC gave the city 22 acres a few years ago for a detention basin into which flood waters rushing through Vice Canyon could be directed.

With last summer's Waterfall fire destroying the vegetation that anchored the soil of the canyon and its surrounding hills, engineers estimated a flood would cause as much as 15 times the normal amount of mud and debris flows, leading the city to dig a virtual abyss big enough to hold a small stadium.

Saying it's just a concept at this point, Jesse on Tuesday presented Parks and Recreation commissioners a plan to make the abyss into a sunken soccer field. Seating could possibly even be built into at least one of the basin's sides to make it more of a stadium than just a field, she suggested.

Western Nevada Community College joined the Scenic West Athletic Conference this spring with its two new sports programs, women's soccer and men's baseball, both of which are funded through private donations. John L. Harvey Field, a new baseball diamond, is under construction on the college's campus.

With five new storm water detention basins scattered throughout the city as part of the Carson Freeway project, commissioners were excited by the idea of making them something useful. Still, commissioners expressed a variety of concerns. So many, in fact, that Jesse later said the project may never happen. If it does, she said, it may be three to five years away.

Parks and Recreation Director Roger Moellendorf said the idea can be done, although Carson City Senior Engineer Robb Fellows said the pit is a basin first and foremost. If there were ever a flood, he said, the college would likely have to deal with dirt and debris covering its field.

Jesse said the main issues confronting a soccer field include the engineering aspects, who would be allowed to use it because it's now city land, scheduling, maintenance and funding.

Jesse said the college would like a chance to name the field to help raise money, although WNCC would need the city's go-ahead first.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.


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