GREENCASTLE, Ind., Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Even the graceful and powerful Tiger needs proper footing when hunting down Bishops, Lords and Little Giants. That's the idea behind Phase I of DePauw University's Athletics and Recreational Facilities Master Plan, which includes three state-of-the-art fields from AstroTurf®, the originator of the synthetic turf industry. Installation of a new artificial surface at Blackstock Stadium was recently completed, and two more synthetic turf fields from AstroTurf are slated for the fall. It's all part of a multimillion dollar renovation project geared at improving the quality of the athletic surfaces on which the school's teams will compete against their North Coast Athletic Conference rivals.
"It's rare to see such a comprehensive athletic facilities upgrade at the Division III level," said Stevie Baker-Watson, Director of Athletics for DePauw. "Our initial focus is to provide our student-athletes with a consistently excellent experience on the fields of play and provide space for our growing intramural and recreation program. We are excited to be partnering with AstroTurf in this endeavor, and have the utmost confidence in their product line and people."
The first of three fields to be resurfaced with AstroTurf synthetic turf was Blackstock Stadium. The team at Sports Contracting Group, a Certified AstroTurf Distributor, handled base construction and field installation, which was completed in July. The new field is composed of 87,000 square feet of AstroTurf's GameDay Grass™ 3D Xtreme synthetic turf. This signature surface for AstroTurf combines monofilament Horseshoe™ fibers and polyethylene slit film fibers with a 50/50 mix of sand and rubber infill. The Horseshoe fiber has an Omega-shape, which is more resilient and bounces back, staying upright longer. The long-lasting slit film fibers give the surface its grass-like appearance while offering the ultimate in durability. Just below the visible surface lies the hidden gem of AstroTurf's GameDay Grass 3D product line, the patented RootZone® system. It consists of a thatched layer of textured nylon which stabilizes the rubber infill, limiting splash, particle migration and compaction. The result is a clean, consistent surface which has garnered critical acclaim for its performance, speed, low maintenance, and resistance to wear and tear. Originally built in 1941, Blackstock Stadium underwent massive improvements in 1997 which helped to transform it into one of the best athletic complexes on the Division III tier. The addition of a premier AstroTurf playing surface will only enhance that reputation.
"What a great opportunity to come back and coach here at DePauw during a time of rejuvenation in the athletic program," said head football coach Bill Lynch, preparing for his first season at the helm since 2004. "The new AstroTurf field at Blackstock looks great, and the feedback from our players has been wholly positive."
Renovations to existing facilities are just a part of the athletic campus improvements outlined by the plan. Construction of Reavis Stadium, a new multisport stadium, located just south of Blackstock Stadium, is already underway with scheduled installation of a 90,000 square foot artificial surface set for the fall. The championship-caliber venue will serve as the permanent home for DePauw University men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as the field hockey team. Adjacent to the new stadium and directly east of it will be a nearly identical 90,000 square foot practice field. Both playing surfaces will be furnished with AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D Xtreme synthetic turf systems, and will be used by all faculty, staff and students participating in their intramural and recreation program.
While performance and durability are hallmarks for the GameDay Grass 3D system, safety may be the component which sets the product apart from other artificial playing surfaces. A study conducted by Michigan State University, funded by NFL Charities, and published in the Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology found that GameDay Grass 3D most closely replicated natural grass as it relates to torque, force, and friction generated by cleated athletic shoes. That translates into less deep cleat penetration and fewer knee and ankle injuries than found in other synthetic turf fields with heavy infill and no RootZone. And when you consider that the RootZone is a proprietary system designed, engineered, and patented by AstroTurf, it means that no other artificial surface is going to be able to replicate the advanced safety engineering of an AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D field.
"We made a conscientious decision to go with AstroTurf for all three fields comprising the athletic campus improvement plan," said Rob Harper of DePauw Facilities Management. "The technology behind the GameDay Grass product, specifically the root zone, was a contributing factor in choosing AstroTurf. We are excited about the performance of these fields and look forward to the success of our teams on the new surface."
The revitalization of the athletic and recreational infrastructure of DePauw University is just one part of an ambitious strategy known as the Campus Master Plan. Approved by the school's Board of Trustees in 2010, its goal is to guide the development of the campus and nurture the aspirations of its students into the future. The Recreational and Athletic Facility Master Plan was launched in 2012 after alumni gifts made this important extension to the Campus Master Plan possible. Award-winning architectural firm Hastings and Chivetta, based out of Saint Louis, worked with officials at DePauw to design and outline the improvements to the athletic fields. Indianapolis-based Wilhelm Construction is handling general contracting duties on the project, and previously served in the same capacity for the well-received renovations to IU's Memorial Stadium and Purdue's Mackey Arena.
The excitement of playing on a brand new surface at Blackstock Stadium isn't the only note of anticipation for the upcoming football campaign. DePauw welcomes back head coach Bill Lynch to guide the Tigers on the gridiron. The highly respected and decorated football lifer garnered high praise during his previous season at the helm in 2004, when he led DePauw to an 8-2 record and a victory over Wabash to capture the coveted Monon Bell on his way to Conference Coach of the Year honors. This year the Monon Bell Classic won't be the only history-laden game on the schedule, as Old Gold Day will set the stage for DePauw to recognize a coaching legend. The new AstroTurf field at Blackstock will be named to honor Nick Mourouzis, DePauw's all-time leader in football coaching victories. Dedication ceremonies will formally take place during the Tigers' homecoming matchup against Oberlin on October 12th.
For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf has redefined the way the game is played. The company offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies, leveraging the industry's first vertically integrated manufacturing system. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit www.astroturf.com.