Dr. Ronald Grevera, Superintendent of the Greater Nanticoke School District, had a major problem on his hands. Due to the shape of the land around the Greater Nanticoke High School, three quarters of the city’s stormwater flowed onto the school property. “Into our parking lot, down to our field, onto the grass. And there it would settle for days.” But the challenge was more serious than just a flooded running track and sports field: the stormwater was causing dangerous erosion on the creek bank behind the stadium. As stormwater washed the bank away, the sediment was running downhill and contaminating the nearby creek, a small but critical water asset. Superintendent Grevera had to take action.
Enter Chris Sespico, JHA’s VP & Director of Engineering, and his team, whose home base is just a few miles up the road in Moosic, PA.
Job one for Chris was to redesign the physical infrastructure of the water drainage system. “We needed to alleviate the stormwater issue,” Chris explains, “some of the pipes were just under capacity. They weren’t designed to accommodate all the stormwater that was getting to them.” But the stormwater design and retrofit of the existing system was only the beginning. The bigger job for Chris and his team, as it often is, were the many complex tasks which have little to do with designing technical systems—yet are crucial to solving infrastructure issues. In this case, it was critical to understand the client’s needs and resources, come up with a suitable project scope, create realistic budget options, and critically, communicate with regulating agencies.
Superintendent Grevera says he was in good hands throughout, and that Chris and his team “walked us through the process. They did a great job working with the conservation district to ensure various parts of the plan and various parts of the project met their needs and that they would sign off on it. As well as the Department of Environmental Protection. Whenever we had an issue or a problem or a question would talk to Chris and he would get us the answers that we needed. He was very easy to work with and he knew and understood all of the legal as well as environmental regulations. JHA was the company that came in and really provided the long-lasting solution to the problem. Where other companies that came into the district really couldn’t do that.”
Chris notes that his team is comprised of people who have been solving similar problems for many years, and who can anticipate comments from government and regulatory agencies. More importantly, Chris and his team always focus on doing right for their clients. “We’re not just there to get a project completed. All of our solutions were ultimately to meet the regulations and also to make them a happy client–and to save them money in the long run. I think it’s a great testament to our team and the relationships we have built along the way.” Superintendent Grevera points out that JHA not only solved the stormwater design issues, but did it within the means of the school district. And in the end, he says, “ JHA did in fact save the district money.”
While Chris and his team work hard to maintain good relationships with every client, it was a special privilege to serve Dr. Grevera and the families of the school district on a high-profile project, central to the community’s identity. “I’m a sports fanatic myself, I grew up in it, and I still play on turf,” Chris explains, “and there is nothing better for the community than to get together to enjoy a game.”
“The whole community is absolutely in love with the new stadium and the new field” says Dr. Grevera. “They are so excited about coming out to a football game on a Friday night with the new turf field, with the Trojan head in the middle of the field, that’s what they love. And not just football but also our girls field hockey team as well as our soccer team. They absolutely love the way the whole project turned out. It was really a wonderful experience, and it will be here for the next twenty or thirty years.”