July 13, 2007
By: Michael N. Graff
Fayetteville State's football field will be resurfaced with artificial turf, and officials hope to have the project finished in time for the Broncos' Aug. 25 opener against Wingate.
The $700,000 project at Luther "Nick" Jeralds Stadium will be financed by the athletic and student affairs departments, with the help of fundraising, according to FSU athletic director Ed McLean.
McLean said the project is still moving forward, despite the recent announcement that Chancellor T.J. Bryan is resigning.
Fayetteville State will become the first school in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to shift from natural grass.
"This is happening this year," McLean said. "This is going to be the wave of college athletics. I want to be out front. This will really enhance our recruiting, too."
The new surface will be made of the new type of AstroTurf, a grass-looking synthetic surface that is different from the abrasive bright green carpet from years ago.
New sod was placed on the current field last summer, but it never settled correctly, resulting in a messy surface by the end of the football season.
After the graduation ceremony was held at Jeralds Stadium this spring, football coach Kenny Phillips took McLean on a walk around the field to show him the damage.
"He was worried about injuries and everything," McLean said. "You want to take that problem away. You want to know that your field is going to be ready on Saturdays."
Raleigh-based AstroTurf won the bid for the project.
McLean said the new field will be used for intramural games, band performances and graduations -- without damage to the surface.
Also, he hopes community organizations will want to use the field for a fee.
Construction should begin within the next two weeks, and labor should take between two and three weeks.
No contingency plans are in place for the Wingate game. But McLean said it may have to be moved, possibly to Wingate, if the project isn't complete.
The Broncos aren't scheduled to play their second home game until Sept. 22 against Bowie State.
Staff writer Michael N. Graff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3591.