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On May 16, renovations were underway on the University Stadium field. Artificial turf, updated electrical sideline equipment and a new irrigation system will be put in place by the start of next season.

State-funded renovation features artificial turf

sports@dailylobo.com

The football field at University Stadium is unrecognizable; the only things visible are big piles of dirt and heavy machinery. The field, along with the soccer and baseball fields, is being renovated for next season.

UNM contracted with FieldTurf Artificial Grass & Synthetic Turf Products, a company that has renovated professional and college fields across the country, to install artificial turf on the football field.

In past seasons, electrical breakers were often tripped due to the aging electrical equipment on the sidelines, so the Athletics Department is upgrading the sideline electrical equipment as well as improving the field’s irrigation system.

There are also improvements being made to the communication system that allows coaches on the sidelines to communicate with coaches in the coach’s box overlooking the field.

These state-funded improvements will cost just over $1 million.
The Athletics Department said the new field isn’t just for the football team, which has won only three games the past three seasons.

“I think if you’re winning or losing, we would still try to put the money into it,” said Scott Dotson, the manager for Sports Facilities and Events. “I look at it as a field that the football team uses. When they’re not using it, someone else is going to use it. It’s the Athletics Department’s field, so the more use we could get out of it, whether it’s a community service or it’s generating income, it’s a benefit to our department.”

The Athletics Department plans on bringing outside events to University Stadium. Some of those events include high school football games and Project Heart Start, which is a free CPR training course that was held in Johnson Center this year.

Head football coach Bob Davie said he prefers grass, but is excited about having a field that is more permanent.

“I’m kind of old school. I’ve always really liked grass,” Davie said. “I think it was an excellent choice to go to field turf just because of the money you spend on maintaining that grass all year.”

Synthetic turf is easier to maintain because it doesn’t have to be watered constantly and the field lines don’t have to be repainted before every game.

Unlike Davie, redshirt junior running back Kasey Carrier said he prefers to play on artificial turf.

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“I actually love playing on turf,” Carrier said. “It makes you a lot faster, and you don’t slip every time you try to run.”

Additionally, the soccer field’s grass was uprooted, and Bermuda grass was planted in its place — another state-funded project for which the state allocated $120,000. Bermuda grass is popular on sports fields because it can recover quickly when it’s damaged.

Athletics said the field will be done before the start of the season.

In May, the Board of Regents allocated $1.1 million for the renovation of the baseball field, which includes installing artificial turf, building more bleachers and adding field lights.

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