The Natrona County School Board will kick in another $100,000 to the Casper East Side Athletic Complex after saturated ground swallowed a bulldozer last month.

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When excavators buried a D-6 Bulldozer at the site of the new activity complex next to Kelly Walsh it took them by surprise...

"It was a surprise. Anytime you do substantial earthwork you have the potential for this problem occurring, especially in an area that use to be a drainage draw and the draw is still present."

That's Dennis Bay, Executive Director for Facilities and Technology at Natrona County School District.

He says they first ran into the super soft soil and shallow water level in early March as they were starting the earthwork for the first phase of activity complex construction. Contractors knew they had water at 10 feet, but something changed between the initial boaring and the start of work in March.

Bay attributes some of the problem to very dry years followed by wet.

"The hot dry August that we had last year and everybody water ing their grass. What we call up-gradient from that, the water comes down it reaches a bedrock layer, it has no place to go."

The affected area has since been filled and earthwork continues.

Monday night the Natrona County School Board, on a 5-3 vote, chose to cover the nearly $100,000 in costs to remedy the problem and replace $50,000 to contingency funds. The District has already committed 2.2 million to build phase one of the complex with a Kelly Walsh Community group has committed to raise another $700,000.

The corner of the site in question will eventually be soccer fields, Bay says, with no large structures in need of ground support.

Also included in the first phase will be lighting, landscaping and a recreational path. Phase two, on the north end of the site, if approved,will have tennis courts and practice fields for football and track.

In the meantime, the south end of the field will be raised by two feet. Bay says he doesn't know if the additional work will delay the August completion date.

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