After a year-and-a-half project, Temple athletic teams have a brand new turf field for practices.
The groundbreaking of a new turf field at 15th and Norris streets and renovations to the IBC Student Recreation Center marked a new era in Temple athletics this year.
Geasey Field is now home to one of the largest permanent Astroturf surfaces in the world, covering more than 156,000 square-feet, according to Temple’s athletic Web site. In addition to the turf, Campus Recreation replaced 80 percent of the equipment and carpet at the IBC.
The Geasey Field project, which has been in motion since March 2008, received approval from the Board of Trustees January 2009. Construction began May 27 and will continue through the fall. The board agreed the old turf was outdated, and player safety is top priority for Temple’s program.
“From a safety standpoint, it was important to replace the turf,” Director of Campus Recreation Steve Young said.
Jamie Hiegel, assistant strength and conditioning coach at Temple, said the 15-year-old turf threatened student athletes’ safety and put Temple facilities behind competing Division I programs.
“The old turf was too old,” Hiegel said. “There was not much give in the surface. The new field potentially reduces risk of injury for students.”
Young said he hopes to make the new $2.5 million state of the art Astroturf facility a paradise both for students and athletes. Coaches and players said the new Turf field will be beneficial to the success of the Owls.
“Temple’s plans for a new and improved facility offer hope to make the program more competitive with the Atlantic-10 Conference,” said Elizabeth Roper, a junior fine arts major and midfielder/defenseman for the women’s soccer team.
Protecting students from injury is one of the university’s biggest goals, and the old turf was a liability for the university, Young said.
“The old turf field was outdated by five years,” he said. “Turf field typically last 10 years, and the field hockey and lacrosse teams have pushed for a new field the past three years.”
The new field will support the same field numbers as the old 165,750 square-foot turf field, which was lined for one football field, one lacrosse field, one field hockey field, six flag football fields and four softball fields.
The turf on the new field, Astroturf 12, is popular among field hockey players for the smoothness of its surface and increased speed of players. Astroturf 12 is engineered with a premium knitted nylon system, designed to provide uniform traction and consistent footing. It improves playability when wet and absorbs water to maintain wet conditions longer, according to Astroturf’s Web site.
Geasey Field will continue to be available for all Temple students, who will be able to enjoy a newer, safer facility, conducive to fine athletic achievement. And the recreation fee is not expected to increase.
Fundraising for the project began before the economic downturn, Young said. Campus recreation raised $1.5 million, and the Athletics Department raised $1 million for the project.
An upcoming fundraising campaign will aim to enhance the facility even further, via the additions of permanent seating, a new scoreboard, team area and entrance plaza, Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw said.
Campus Recreation also began a 5-year $250,000 lease agreement that will help lower restoration and renovation fees, provide patrons with better updated equipment and keep students safer. Campus Recreation uses 25 percent of each student’s $40 campus recreation fee for restoration and renovation, Young said.
The new IBC equipment – which includes new cardio machines on the second floor, equipped with flat-screen TVs and iPod docks – was also reorganized for accessibility and may potentially decrease congestion in certain areas.
“It’s better than last year,” sophomore physical therapy major LuQman Harper said. “It’s more convenient and less hectic.”
Andy Whitlatch can be reach at email@example.com.