Superior Dome Turf to be Replaced
After his opening remark that "The timing couldn't be worse ... ," Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration) informed the NMU Board of Trustees at its December meeting that the Superior Dome turf and the mechanism required to roll it out must be replaced. The project is estimated to cost about $1.8 million.
Leach said the turf (pictured above), which was installed 18 years ago, has surpassed its life expectancy of 10-12 years.
“Obviously in this economic climate, this is not the year we were looking to make this update," he added. "However, we’ve made the turf last as long as we could, but it’s splitting and tearing now beyond what we can repair with green duct tape. Every time we pull it out, there are more tears. It’s becoming very difficult to even roll it out. Not replacing it would be a big liability to the university.”
Additionally, the bar mechanism that rolls the turf in and out across the floor has bent over time and, Leach said, there is concern that one day it will simply not work.
“That could be on a day when the Dome is scheduled to hold an auto or boat show, and then we’d have a logistical and contractual crisis situation. A lot of the revenue to support the Dome’s operations comes from renting the facility out for community events.”
The current surface was installed by AstroTurf at a cost of $1.3 million in 1991. AstroTurf will begin fabrication of the Dome’s new turf (a sample is pictured left), which more closely resembles natural grass, in January. The process will take about six months. The on-site installation phase will begin in late June or early July and will last about six weeks. Activities will continue to be held in the Dome until that time.
“It should be in and ready to accommodate classes we hold in the Dome by the start of the fall semester, and well in advance of the first Wildcat and area high school football games to be held there,” Leach said.