Austin Peay officials wait for final depth, cost of sinkhole - WKRN News 2

Austin Peay officials wait for final depth, cost of sinkhole

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A large sinkhole that opened up on the football field at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville is still growing.

It’s located in the end zone of Governors Stadium on College Street.

University spokesman Bill Persinger told Nashville’s News 2 the sinkhole was discovered a few months ago by workers digging to install underground utilities. He said it started as a rather small sink in the ground of about 10 feet or less.

"As they began to dig, it opened up more, and that's where we are today," said Persinger.

The sinkhole now measures about 40 feet deep and 40 feet wide.

The stadium is undergoing a major renovation that began at the final horn of the last home game. Persinger is confident the construction didn't trigger the sinkhole to open.

"It wasn't a sudden collapse, but in the scale, it's comparable to the Corvette Museum," Persinger said.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green lost 8 classic cars when a sinkhole opened in February. Contractors are still working to repair that hole.

Persinger said sinkholes aren't that uncommon in the area, in fact some on campus are now part of the landscape. However, he said the sinkhole on the football stadium is bigger than any of the others on the Austin Peay campus.

“There is a limestone base underneath us. That limestone is porous and rain dissolves limestone, so over centuries, it creates a giant void, and we end up with sinkholes like we have today,” said Persinger.

The sinkhole did not damage any of the current construction, and it won't affect the timeline or opening of the new stadium or the upcoming football season, which kicks off September 13.

Persinger said no one was injured, and the main thing school officials will have to deal with now is the extra cost to abate the sinkhole.

He said the school added a line to the budget for such "surprises."

Once engineers and contractors reach the bottom of the sinkhole, they'll know how much it will cost.

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