July 10, 2012 12:00AM
It’s been nearly a decade since Pittsburg State University installed artificial turf for its football program at Carnie Smith Stadium. In that time the turf has been home to 52 All-Americans, eight national playoff games, two MIAA conference championships, one NCAA Division II National Championship runner-up and most recently the 2011 NCAA Division II National Champion.
“It’s been a great decade for Gorilla football,” said Jim Johnson, director of athletics at Pittsburg State University. “This field has certainly seen its share of champions.”
But along with the thrilling games, the field has also experienced its share of harsh weather conditions.
“The average life expectancy for this type of artificial turf is about 10 years,” Johnson explained.
“The colors begin to fade, the fibers begin to break and the rubber infill begins to move from the center of the field toward the sidelines. It’s just the natural progression of time.”
Fortunately for the Gorillas and their fans, the installation of a new turf will begin this week. Known as Mondoturf, the turf will be installed by Keifer Specialty Flooring of Lindenhurst, Ill.. The cost of the turf and installation is approximately $500,000, and is being paid for with private gifts.
“We visited a number of facilities during our selection process and the Mondoturf had a great look and feel to it,” said Johnson. “Carnie Smith is already one of the premiere stadiums in Division II, and the new turf will only improve its national standing.”
In keeping with Pittsburg State’s goal of sustainability, almost all of the rubber infill will be recycled.
“About 60 percent of the current infill will be reused on our field,” said Johnson. “The company will use the rest on other projects. We’re also going to repurpose several sections of the turf in other athletic areas, such as the baseball and softball batting cages, and the throwing areas of our track and field practice venue.”
In order to provide a safe work area for work crews and expedite the process, university officials will close Carnie Smith Stadium to the public during the turf’s installation.
“We have a lot of community members who use the stadium in their daily walking routine,” said Johnson. “By closing the stadium we’re hoping to cut down on the installation time and provide a safe working environment for the turf crew. We know it will be an inconvenience but we think everyone will be happy with the end result.”
The installation will begin on Wednesday and is expected to last until early August. The stadium will be closed to the public during this time.