New Artificial Turf to be Installed at EMU

Harrisonburg, VA – Eastern Mennonite University is literally having the rug pulled out from under it, but few are complaining. The prominent bright green turf field that has served multiple purposes for athletic programs at EMU is being replaced after 17 years. “The playing field has received years of hard use and is no longer safe to play on,” said EMU athletic director David A. King. “The original surface had an eight-year warranty, but we were told it would probably last for 12. Leave it to the Mennonites to stretch that to 17,” he said. The original turf field, completed in 1989, has been used by the EMU women’s field hockey intercollegiate program, as well as occasionally for varsity soccer practices, intramurals and the Shenandoah Valley summer soccer league that had upwards to 650 participants, King noted. The $525,000 project, to be completed by A-Turf of Cheektowaga, N.Y., will involve widening the playing area, replacing the current fencing and installing new turf on a bed of rubber and graintramuralsvel. Current women’s field hockey head coach Brenda Bechler and former field hockey coach Sandy Brownscombe and several current field hockey players ceremoniously removed the first section of old turf Tuesday morning, Apr. 18. Students, physical plant staff and other volunteers are removing andre-rolling the remaining turf in 15-foot or smaller sections. “One reason we selected A-Turf for the project is that they are allowing us to remove the old turf, which is expected to save us around $25,000,” King said. King noted that the old turf “won’t be going to the landfill.” Rather, he said, “it will be given to local youth organizations, golf courses and individuals.” The new turf is projected to be put down on or around May 1 and will take 14-17 days to complete, “with weather a factor,” King said. According to Kirk L. Shisler, vice president for advancement, $345,000 of the total replacement cost has already been committed by alumni and donor friends. “We’re hoping to raise the total needed by June 1 this year,” he said.

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