Alerus Center installs permanent turf ahead of football season
The new system will be more durable and efficient for the venue and more safe for players.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The next time the UND football team takes the field for a home game, it will do so on brand new turf.
“This turf is actually NFL quality,” said the Alerus Center general manager, Anna Rosburg. “From a performance standpoint, it will be a much safer solution.”
The Alerus Center is going from a roll-in-roll-out system to a permanent style field.
“With the old system, there were several mechanical components that had the ability to fail and sometimes did,” said Rosburg. “It would take several days to be able to pull that out and make sure it was acceptable and ready for playing.”
With the permanent turf, the venue will still be able to convert from a field to a concert or event setup. A covering of plastic plates pieced together over the turf will make for a cheaper and quicker conversion process than before.
The turf will cover the Alerus Center floor from end-to-end, leaving no areas of concrete that would be dangerous for players during a game.
When this project was being planned, maximizing player safety was a priority. The turf provides more protection for players. The extra layer of padding between turf level and the concrete helps to prevent injuries that are common in football.
“The infield is sand and rubber, which is more than what the old system was and there is a little bit more padding to it,” said the Alerus Center’s assistant general manager, Daniel Melise. “There is going to be three or four different tests that we will go through annually to make sure the playing surface is as safe as it can be.”
The new field comes just in time for the Fighting Hawks first season as a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
As their level of competition is upgraded, so to is the place they will host that competition.
“We would have to change the logos out on the old turf system anyway,” said Melise. “It made sense to make this change now. Moving into the bigger conference and having some of those bigger schools in, we wanted to put the best facility forward that we could for this city and the university.”
The old system cost the Alerus Center $4 million when it was installed, while this one totaled just over $1.8 million, allowing the venue to provide a more durable, efficient, and safer field for half the cost.