MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University is getting new turf.
At an NMU Board of Trustees finance committee meeting in December, Gavin Leach, vice president for finance and administration, announced that the 18-year-old artificial grass surface in the Superior Dome has to be replaced.
"It's splitting and tearing," he said. "Every time we pull it out, there are more tears."
- Gavin Leach
The bar that pulls out the turf is also bent, therefore, the turf no longer pulls out straight, which creates more stress on the artificial grass surface. Two areas on the turf are currently held together by green duct tape.
"I think if you don't replace it, we would be in a situation where (if we host) a football game, we couldn't run it," Leach said.
Besides using the turf for NMU's athletic meets, it is also used for community games, especially by area high school teams. The university rents its facility and services to these teams.
Leach said the original turf, which is a type of surface primarily used for field hockey nowadays, was installed in 1991 for about $1.3 million. It had a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. It has been in use for 18 years.
"It's well beyond its life expectancy," Leach said.
The new artificial turf, which is softer and looks more like actual grass than the old one, will cost the university about $1.8 million. The company AstroTurf will need about 6 to 7 months to get the surface ready and install it, Leach said.
The board did not have to vote on the approval of the purchase, Leach said.