Football shows off new turf, field hockey still waiting

Kelly Cothren

James Taylor and Ken Tierney from Sportexe work on putting down new field hockey turf yesterday afternoon.

Credit: Ben Breier

As students returned to campus they found new buildings and sidewalks that were not there last semester.

This fall, many athletes also are coming back to new, top-of-the-line facilities.


Saturday’s football game was not only the team’s home debut but also the debut for the new artificial turf installed this summer.

The Flashes are the only Division I stadium to have the new Field Turf monofilament artificial surface.

The new surface, unlike its 1997 carpet-like ancestor, has a unique mixture of sand and rubber underneath the grassy top. This special mixture provides footing and padding for football players.

“With the layers when you run on the turf it feels more real,” University Architect Thomas Euclide said. “Another benefit of the layers is that it makes it softer to fall on, so there are fewer injuries.”

The new $550,000 turf also has a unique drainage system that eliminates sitting water on the field.

Field Hockey

Just north of Dix Stadium, field hockey also is getting an updated look. The women’s field hockey team also will have a newly surfaced field with a special water system, fencing and a scoreboard for their first game, Athletic Director Laing Kennedy said.

Before this new field, the team played at Dix Stadium, a field designed for football. Unlike the football field, field hockey prefers a more “wet” playing surface, according to the Sportexe Web site. The new field installed by Sportexe will have its own irrigation power data subsurface to keep the field damp without excessive sitting water.

Along with the new turf, a new fence system also is being constructed, Euclide said. For security, the field will be encircled by fencing that also will provide a visual gateway for fans entering the field.

Kennedy said all the construction will be finished before the team’s first home match on Sept. 25. The university also plans to install stands for 500 spectators, a press box and lights at the field hockey field in the future.

Contact building and grounds reporter Kelly Cothren at [email protected].