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Artificial Turf Will Greet Fall Athletes at Cowell Stadium

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
July 25, 2007

The grass has been stripped from Mooradian Field, replaced with a layer of gray sand that gives the area the look of a BMS bike course without the bumps.

Within the coming months, the field at Cowell Stadium will turn green again once the installation of a new synthetic surface is complete. There are good things to be said about artificial turf including that it doesn’t require mowing, watering or fertilizing.

While it replicates grass, Fieldturf—used by numerous major league players including the New England Patriots--has also been shown to provide durability and reduce injuries. The new field also will afford the state more playing opportunities, according to UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano.

And because Mooradian is a multi-purpose field used for numerous sports besides football, there won’t be any lines painted on it, eliminating the need to redo boundaries for each game. All of these pluses add up to a playing surface that Scarano says will help give the Wildcats a completive edge.

“Growing grass to be viable in New Hampshire is a tough assignment,” Scarano says. “This will give us 10 hours a day of flexible multi-play games without having to worry the way you do with grass. This surface is consistent. You can brush the snow off it in the winter and use it.”

And once lights are added—part of a future plan—the number of usable hours will increase.

“It’s awfully exciting to have a football program that has gone as far as Sean McDonnell has taken it in the last four years be able to play on a surface like this,” Scarano says. “I’m especially happy we get to have Ricky Santos in his senior year playing on it.”

The project, targeted to be finished next month, was launched with a $1 million donation from alumnus Edward Fish (’58), owner of the Suffolk Construction Company in Boston. Fish played football and hockey during his years at UNH. He also is the primary donor for the Edward Fish ’58 Football Scholarship

Scarano pegged the final total cost at about $800,000.

The first test of the new turf will come Sept. 22 when UNH hosts Dartmouth in the home opener. Game time is noon. Tickets are available at www.unhwildcats.com.

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