Sacramento State fans driving by the Eli and Edythe Broad Fieldhouse in recent weeks have no doubt seen construction crews busy on the installation of synthetic turf at Hornet Stadium.
The stadium turf replacement project replaces the natural turf (75,000square feet) game field with a synthetic turf and the associated drainage system. Expected to be completed by the end of May, the FieldTurf surface will make the 2010 season the first that a Hornet football team will play on synthetic turf.
The stadium turf replacement project will be paid for entirely with revenue generated from football game contracts and donor sources.
“This is a project has been part of our vision for enhancing our athletic facilities for years and it is now becoming a reality,” Sacramento State athletics director Terry Wanless said. “It will provide a positive and exciting image for our football program as well as increase the usability of the space that was so limited in the past.
“Our total athletic department will benefit from this change and we appreciate all of those involved in making this happen.”
The synthetic turf will provide Sacramento State a facility that can by utilized year round, regardless of weather conditions. In previous years, usage of the main stadium field was limited by both inclement weather conditions as well as by the need to allow the grass surface to fully recover in the offseason.
The FieldTurf surface also allows for significantly increased usage of the stadium, by groups both in and out of the University community. This additional use creates the potential for both enhancements in revenues and campus exposure to potential future students as well as to the greater Sacramento community at large.
One such example is the partnership that has been formed between the University and the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League. Schedule to begin play in Sacramento in fall of 2010, the UFL has supported the installation of the new turf and have committed $450,000 to the project.
“We believe that this project will serve as a beacon to our community to bring our campus closer to our community,” Wanless said. “It will create an opportunity to bring special athletic events to our campus that would not have been available in the past.
“The UFL is just one example of supporting a high quality of community life for the Sacramento region. We want to continue to partner with this great region in supporting Sacramento State as a destination campus.”
The synthetic turf will realize a significant reduction in maintenance costs as well as a reduction in water/irrigation cost and need and these savings will be re-distributed to natural grass surfaces throughout the University landscape.
In addition, the ability for the football team to devote more of its training to the main stadium will reduce damage to the practice field created by overuse, thus enhancing student safety.
Eastern Washington University joins the Hornets as Big Sky Conference schools adding synthetic turf fields this season. Seven of the conferences nine teams will play their home games on synthetic turf beginning in 2010.