New synthetic field turf to benefit Hornet football and bring San Francisco UFL team to Sacramento

Field Turf:The Hornet Stadium?s field is being replaced with artficial turf. Work is scheduled to be completed in May.:Tina Horton State Hornet


Field Turf:The Hornet Stadium?s field is being replaced with artficial turf. Work is scheduled to be completed in May.:Tina Horton State Hornet

Ashley O'Con

Hornet Stadium’s playing surface is getting a makeover.

Sacramento State is replacing the stadium’s old grass field with a new synthetic field turf.

The new surface will generate revenue and serve as a major recruiting tool for the football team. The project will also welcome the United Football League to Hornet Stadium. The California Redwoods will call Hornet Stadium home for five games during the 2010 season.Director of Athletics Terry Wanless said the project will not only enhance the football program but improve the use of the surface.

“In an effort to expand the usability of our football stadium, we felt that an artificial turf has allowed us to have multiple activities on the field that we currently cannot do,” Wanless said. “Right now, we use it for just five or six football games a year and a couple of track meets.”

The renovation is a three-month process and is expected to be completed in May.With a bid of $1.042 million, the company FieldTurf is tasked with installing the new surface.

Wanless said paying the price was well worth it.

“We’re putting in the best turf that money can buy,” Wanless said. “Generally, it’s a million-dollar project no matter where you go or what part of the country. It’s pretty much all the same.”

The project funds are coming from private donations and approximately $500,000 has been donated by the UFL.

Deputy Director of Athletics Bill Macriss said no money from Sac State is going into paying for this project.

“We’re taking a portion of those game contracts and putting them into the turf projects,” Macriss said. “We’re utilizing the resources from that with the help of the private donation to pay for the turf. So there is no general fund money, there is no state money and there is no student money or a penny of university money going into this.”

Macriss said the new potential revenue stream will be saving money or making money, rather than spending money.

“The university is going to save a lot of money in maintenance, water and management of the surface but they are not putting a penny into it. So it’s all pretty good news,” Macriss said.

Football head coach Marshall Sperbeck said they are looking forward to the synthetic field.

“We’re excited to have it put in,” he said. “Even during the season, when the weather during the games or practice gets bad, we have a good playing surface. It’ll be a little hot during the summer months, but we’re fortunate to have the grass also so we can use both places.”

Wanless said he is hopeful the new field will attract students to attend Sac State 365 days a year.

“We expect that it will enhance recruiting because of the fact your field will look the same every day of the year,” he said. “In the offseason, it’s not painted &- it’s just a grass plot. But when you have an artificial surface, the picture of the football field is out there all the time. I think that when a young man or woman visits our campus, they’ll see that we are making commitment to our athletic program to make our facilities better and so hopefully that helps attract them to our program.”

Wanless said he thinks both recruits current players stand to benefit from the synthetic turf.

“We have an excellent grass field, so the playing surface itself won’t be that much different than what the current situation is, but a turf field is proven to be fast, it’s safe and it obviously requires less maintenance,” he said. “So from the players, I think it’s partially psychological. They enjoy playing on an artificial surface. The look of it “pops.’ The paint is sewn right into the surface so it looks fresh and brand new.”

Sophomore defensive back Deionte Gordon said the new turf will benefit the team.

“I think it’s great because it can be used no matter what the weather is outside,” Gordon said. “It will also bring more speed to our team. By having a surface such as turf, we will be able to work out on it all year-round.”

By having the field installed, Macriss said Sac State can become an even better partner with the community in getting locals onto the campus.

“There are probably a number of large events that want a venue that we can now bring to the campus, be it a high school championship or an international soccer-friendly type of activities and events that haven’t been able to come to this campus before,” Macriss said. “The university hasn’t had a chance to showcase the growth of the university in this big campus we have.”

Ashley O’Con can be reached at [email protected]