April 15, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Phase one of Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium face-lift will officially begin April 18, when crews begin removing sod and topsoil to make way for the new artificial playing surface.
American Civil Constructors of Littleton, Colo., was awarded the contract for the turf installation. The total project will cost just under $1 million, according to UW Athletics Director Gary Barta. It is being funded by the athletic department's facility campaign and matching funds from the State of Wyoming. The job is scheduled to be completed by August 1.
According to Barta, the new surface, known as Desso Challenge Pro 60 Monofilament Synthetic Turf, is the first of its kind in Division 1A football.
"This is very exciting for our department because it is the first tangible evidence that our Strategic Plan is moving forward," Barta said. "The benefits of the new turf are many. It is designed to reduce the risk of injury. We will have so much more flexibility in scheduling our programs. The surface can be utilized seven days a week, 12 months a year. It allows such entities as football, soccer, and band, an opportunity to take full advantage of it. In the past, the stadium grass could only be utilized on a limited basis.
"In addition, it will save some $70,000 per year in maintenance costs such as water, fertilizer, paint and people-power."
"This is a very forgiving surface," said Robb Williams, UW's Head Athletic Trainer. "It's very user friendly. The `G forces' are less than most synthetics. It acts, looks and plays like the very best grass field."
The surface will sport brown end zones with gold lettering, "Wyoming" at one end, and "Cowboys" at the other. At the center of the field will be a brown bucking horse and rider, outlined in gold.
The completed plan for the stadium remodeling includes: renovation of the upper east and west concourses which is anticipated to be completed in time for the 2005 season; VIP seating on the stadium's east side, lower east and west concourse renovations. In addition to those renovations, an indoor practice facility, an indoor tennis facility, and an outdoor track are included in the overall facility plan.
"It's like a miracle," said Head Coach Joe Glenn. "This is a perfect playing surface. It never freezes, and there will never be another muddy game. It's easy on the athletes, it's easy on the uniforms and equipment. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to us while we were at Montana, and I know that will be the case here.
"I can't overstate how important it is for us to practice in that stadium every day, which is what this turf will allow us to do. It's a great advantage to practice where you play. It's also an advantage because we will have much better angles to film practice. That will be better for our coaches and athletes to evaluate practice footage. No more ladders or towers at the `North 40'.
"This turf is state of the art. I'm just thinking how great it will look in December. Steamboat will be standing big and tall."
The turf project will begin with removal of the old sod and topsoil. After backfilling areas to reach grade, trenches will be dug for the drainage system. When that stage is completed, an eight-inch base of crushed rock will be spread across the entire field for drainage purposes. Landscaping fabric will be spread over the crushed rock, and finally the turf will be installed. The turf will include crumb-rubber "in-fill". After the turf is down, cutouts of hash marks, numbers, logo and end zones will finish the project.