Over spring break, the Cannon River overflowed due to warmer temperatures rapidly melting snow, but the flood was less damaging than Carleton and the city of Northfield feared.
Portions of the Lower Arboretum and the practice fields and parking lot around West Gym to be flooded between March 19-23. Though the road behind Laird Stadium was also flooded, student housing nearby was not impacted. At its peak on March 24, the Cannon was still 3-4 feet below the level it reached during record flooding last September.
The College and Northfield both took precautions for spring flooding. Sandbag walls were constructed around entrance points of Laird Stadium and West Gym. Townspeople stacked 300 sandbags near the west Cannon Riverwalk floodgate as well 1500 sandbags outside the Northfield Safety Center for later use.
Carleton Facilities installed backflow preventers in floor drains and placed several large sump pumps in Laird Stadium and West Gym. Precautions against polluting the water supply in Wilson, Allen and Prentice Houses, the three closest residences to the river, were also used. Luckily, these measures were unnecessary as flooding was not as bad as it was in other portions of the state.
The West Gym practice fields were badly damaged by the most recent flooding, but they had already been out of commission for the spring due to the September flood. Assistant Director of the Recreation Center and Club Sports Director Aaron Chaput expects those fields, which are typically used by the football and ultimate Frisbee teams during the spring, to be usable in the fall after they have been reseeded. In the mean time, all intramural, club and varsity sports are using the fields behind the Rec Center, keeping them occupied every afternoon.
“It just makes everything more congested but every team can pretty much gain access to playing fields,” said Chaput, who arranges field scheduling for the playing.