McKendree University Director of Athletics Chuck Brueggemann announced Tuesday that the current turf playing surface on Leemon Field will be replaced and upgraded with a new surface during the summer of 2015.
The current surface, made by GameDay Classic Turf, was originally installed in 2005. It will be replaced with a product manufactured by Shaw Sports Turf of Calhoun, Georgia. Shaw Sports Turf currently has product installed at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, Georgia Tech, University of Arkansas and Vanderbilt University. In the St. Louis-area, Westminster Christian Academy and Vianney Catholic High School also both use Shaw Sports Turf product.
“The turf being replaced at Leemon Field is a huge improvement for our student-athletes,” said Brueggemann. “We’re striving to enhance our student-athlete experience with improvements at our current facilities, along with adding new facilities, such as the performance and wrestling centers last year, and the McKendree Metro Rec Plex that will begin construction soon. The new turf is the first step making Leemon Field a first-class facility for our student-athletes.”
The removal of the current turf surface, along with the site preparation and installation of the new turf surface, will be done by Byrne and Jones Sports Construction of St. Louis. The firm has done field construction for teams and organizations of all sizes from the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos of the National Football League, to Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer, as well as projects at the University of Missouri, University of Illinois, Saint Louis University, Missouri State University and Illinois State University.
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The Shaw Sports Turf product features a combination of high-performance monofilament fiber and a durable slit film fiber that provides a soft and resilient playing surface with the performance and durability required from multi-use fields. Currently, Leemon Field is home to McKendree’s football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s lacrosse programs.
“The combination fiber field will give the best combination of playability and durability for our student-athletes,” said equipment manager and project coordinator Brad Oster. “For a sport like soccer, the combination fiber turf allows the ball to roll at a more consistent speed in all directions. At the same time, it is durable enough to handle the players cutting and pivoting for football and lacrosse.”
The product also uses a mixture of rubber and sand infill that provides a firm and consistent surface that also meets all of the latest safety requirements.
“Student-athlete safety was our top priority in the decision making process,” said head athletic trainer Lance Ringhausen. “We looked at all the available data in regards to safety, from the base material all the way through to the infill of the field. We’re very confident that this new turf surface will meet and exceed our expectations for the safety of our student-athletes.”
The project is scheduled to begin in May with the removal of the current turf surface, followed by site preparation and the installation of the new surface. The whole project is scheduled to be completed by August of 2015.