The grass is greener . . .

Marisa Dalessandro

New turf being installed at Dix Stadium

Crews worked last week to lay the stone foundation of the new turf at Dix Stadium.

Credit: Beth Rankin

The field of the stadium is brown, but not because of the lack of summer rain. In place of the old artificial turf, the ground is covered in dirt.

“It was originally Astroturf, which is really abrasive and hard on joints,” said Alicia Longstreth, an athletic program officer. “The Astroturf had reached the end of its life span.”

A budget of $500,000, set aside in the debt service fund for Dix stadium, was secured by the Athletic Department to fund the project.

Fieldturf USA Inc. is the contractor on the job.

This is the first time that this new material is being used.

“It’s a different type of turf system,” said Tom Euclide, director of the university architects. “It’s long strands of grass and they fill it in with sand and rubber so it feels like running on real grass.”

Jeff Schaefer, director of sports information, said he isn’t worried about risk in using something that was never used before, “Fieldturf is a proven company and this is just the newest technological advancement.”

The new turf is a monofilament, which is better for football. Monofilament means one blade of grass. The Astroturf is like a strand of grass that split into four pieces. The monofilament is more like actual grass.

“The Astroturf is what field hockey uses and since a new field hockey stadium is being built, Dix stadium can get better football turf,” said Longstreth.

The number one reason the new turf is better for football is because it is going to reduce injuries.

“It’s better than Astroturf because is plays like a natural surface, which allows the players to run faster,” Schaefer said. “It also reduces injuries related to the playing surface with no maintenance upkeep.”

The turf is currently being sewn (like a carpet would) in the South and will be brought up here to be installed when it’s done.

The lack of rain has a positive effect on the project.

“I assume they need a certain number of dry days for gluing and stuff,” Schaefer said.

The new turf doesn’t require any water because it’s an artificial surface. A drainage system will manage rainfall in the stadium.

Euclide said that if all goes well, the turf will be ready for football season.

“I don’t see any reason why anything would go wrong. They’ll be playing on it by August,” Schaefer said.

Contact general assignment reporter Marisa Dalessandro at [email protected].