When students return to campus this fall, two 75-yard Sprinturf (pronounced sprint turf) fields will have replaced the grass field on the east side of the Kibbie ASUI Dome. The $1.2 million project includes lighting and fencing in addition to the infill artificial turf.
What it means to the UI intercollegiate, intramural and club sports communities, as well as the residents of Moscow, is a field that previously had approximately 300 useable hours annually now will be playable for as many as 2,000 hours.
"We're taking what had been an intercollegiate athletics-only field and opening it to everyone," said Rob Spear, UI Director of Athletics. "This is a win-win-win. There won't be any more rain-outs. It won't make any difference what time it gets dark. We won't have to keep people off of the field to maintain it."
The $1.2 million project is funded through the Kibbie Dome turf replacement fund and is expected to be finished in mid-July. Because the turf inside the Kibbie Dome is lasting longer than originally projected, the funds became available for the Sprinturf project.
The two 75-yard fields will be separated by a 10-yard wide "walkway," which also will be Sprinturf. The 75-yard length was chosen because it is long enough for the Vandal football and women's soccer teams to practice as well as for intramural competition, but short enough to have two fields in the space available. There will be one goal post on the south end of the south field and one on the north end of the north field, with the corners marked for the soccer.
Infill artificial turf first was installed at the University of Nebraska in 1997. Sprinturf is the surface in the Philadelphia Eagles' practice facility and at Utah State University and the University of Montana.
"This is an exciting project because it is going to benefit all students," Spear said.
An added benefit is an estimated $50,000 in annual field maintenance savings.