April 17, 2009
SEATTLE - The University of Washington athletic department announced plans today to install a new FieldTurf synthetic playing surface next month in Husky Stadium, replacing the nine-year-old field that was originally installed during the summer of 2000.
The new surface will be installed by FieldTurf at a cost of approximately $350,000, which will come from the athletic department's operating budget. The project includes the removal of the existing surface and the installation of FieldTurf's latest 2 ½" synthetic grass technology.
The new surface will feature an all-green field with permanent inlaid white football boundary and five-yard lines. All other field markings will be designed and painted onto the surface prior to the upcoming football season.
Should Husky Stadium undergo a major renovation that would include the removal of the existing running track, the field will be relocated to the infield of a new track facility that would be constructed at a site that has yet to be determined.
"The existing field in Husky Stadium has certainly served our program well for the last nine years," said Scott Woodward, UW's director of athletics. "But, the reality is that the surface has exceeded its projected lifespan and needs to be replaced. We considered several artificial surfaces and made the decision that FieldTurf was the best choice for our program. If we are able to move forward with the Husky Stadium project in the near future, we will relocate the field to a new track facility and install a surface that meets the specifications of the redesigned football field."
"The existing field in Husky Stadium has certainly served our program well for the last nine years. But, the reality is that the surface has exceeded its projected lifespan and needs to be replaced."
UW's director of athletics Scott Woodward
Other existing FieldTurf surfaces within the Husky athletics complex include the Dempsey Indoor, Husky Ballpark and the Intramural Activities (IMA) sports field.
"We are extremely happy to continue our long-standing relationship with the University of Washington by installing the latest-and-greatest version of FieldTurf at Husky Stadium," said FieldTurf CEO Joe Fields. "FieldTurf's relationship with the UW through the years has been a mutually rewarding one. The turf that was installed at Husky Stadium in 2000 was one of our early major collegiate installations. It was also significant because it allowed the Seahawks to become the first NFL team to play its regular season games on FieldTurf.
"We're delighted that Scott (Woodward) and the Husky athletic department continue to have the utmost faith and satisfaction in our product. FieldTurf is very proud to have earned its standing as the world leader in artificial turf, and we will provide the best, safest product for Coach (Steve) Sarkisian and the UW football program."
The Husky Stadium field has undergone several changes since 1968, when Washington became the first major college to install AstroTurf as the playing surface for its football field. At that time, the Houston Astrodome was the only other major facility to use the playing surface. The original artificial surface was replaced in 1972, 1977, 1987, 1995 and, most recently, in 2000.
Unlike traditional turf, FieldTurf does not rely on an underlying shock pad for safety, resilience and player comfort. Rather, like its natural grass cousin, FieldTurf's grass fibers are surrounded and stabilized by a special blend of "synthetic earth" - FieldTurf's patented mixture of smooth, rounded silica sand and rubber granules.
The rubber granules are a key component. Tire rubber is cryogenically frozen, shattered into smooth, clean, rounded particles, sized and shaped to stay "in suspension" with the sand, which is of a similar size, shape and weight. The sand and rubber are precision layered to guarantee uniformity, with a patented installation process. The result is a stable, resilient, uniform, shock-absorbing surface.
Today, more than 42 major NCAA universities have FieldTurf in their stadiums, with many more utilizing it at their practice sites. A selection of other universities that have FieldTurf in their football stadiums include Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas State, Louisville, Texas Tech, Missouri and Harvard. In addition, 21 of the National Football League's 32 teams have FieldTurf at their stadiums and/or practice complexes. Also, Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays have FieldTurf at their respective stadiums. FieldTurf has completed more than 3,000 field installations worldwide.