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Montana to Replace Football Stadium Surface
The University of Montana will replace the synthetic playing surface in Washington-Grizzly Stadium this summer. The move will allow Sprinturf, the manufacturer, to install the latest technology offered by the company.
Removal of the old surface begins Monday, July 21, and the new field will be ready for play by Sept. 1. The first home football game for the Grizzlies is Saturday, Sept. 13, versus Southern Utah.
UM Director of Athletics Jim O’Day said the University originally intended to replace the surface in time for the 2010 season. However, the deal offered by Sprinturf to update immediately was too attractive to turn down, even though there is one year of warranty remaining on the original field, which was installed in 2001. The new field will have another eight-year warranty.
“After seven football seasons and an unbelievable amount of use, this will be a welcome addition to our student-athletes and the fans,” O’Day said. “Knowing that we had one more year of warranty left on the current contract, and with the stadium floor starting to show its age, we decided this was a good decision.”
He said the new surface will give UM a head start on the latest technology being offered and give the Grizzlies an excellent playing surface for the next eight to 10 years.
“Just like any carpet, these products need to be replaced periodically,” O’Day said. “Although testing showed that the surface was still safe, we could not guarantee we would get beyond this season. We have to look out for the best interests of our student-athletes, and this will allow us to do so.”
UM was one of the first universities to use the Sprinturf product, and Washington-Grizzly Stadium has served as an endorsement for much of that company’s collegiate sporting arena advertising efforts.
UM’s original Sprinturf field hosted 59 UM home football games, as well as contests featuring the Missoula Phoenix semi-professional football team, periodic local high school games and the Little Grizzly Jamboree. In addition, regional lacrosse tournaments have been played in the stadium, and the Rolling Stones played a concert there in 2006. Many Grizzly football practices and scrimmages also take place in the stadium.
The University’s signature Grizzly logo will remain in the middle of the new field, and the end zones will be maroon, while the “MONTANA” and “GRIZZLIES” lettering in the end zones will be silver/gray. The new turf will consist of Sprinturf’s Ultrablade DF fabric.
“Sprinturf Ultrablade DF is the ideal choice for a multiuse field because the playability is much like that of natural grass in pristine conditions,” said Bruce Cheskin, senior vice president responsible for product development and safety at Sprinturf. “The all-rubber infill provides firm footing yet quick release and turn action while still ensuring that (surface hardness is) well below the guidelines of the Synthetic Turf Council in regards to concussions and injury. Athlete safety is our No. 1 priority.”
Sprinturf recently announced that it has been named the official turf supplier for the Kansas City Chiefs and has contracted to provide a synthetic turf football field at the new Harry S. Truman Sports Complex.
Montana to replace football stadium surface
by Dave Guffey, Montana Sports Information