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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 15 2012

Removed Fargodome turf close to a new home

FARGO – The North Dakota State athletic department is on the brink of buying the recently-deposed Fargodome artificial turf, which in turn could turn Dacotah Field into more of a soccer complex.

Athletic director Gene Taylor said NDSU and AstroTurf officials are close to finalizing a price on the GameDay Grass product that was removed from the dome last month. The company replaced the one-month old surface after a glitch was found in the underlay when it was rolled up and stored in the storage pit.

That would not be an issue outdoors.

“We’re trying to wrap it up this week if we can,” Taylor said.

If so, the turf would be installed in the western-most of the three Bison grass football practice fields. It would also free up the existing Sprinturf practice surface at old Dacotah Field for soccer, which currently plays at Ellig Sports Complex.

The Ellig field is too small by NCAA standards at 106 feet by 63 feet. The minimum NCAA specifications are 110 feet by 70 feet. The existing Sprinturf already has soccer lines woven into it.

“It would be a huge benefit to our program,” said NDSU women’s soccer head coach Mark Cook. “The fans would be closer to the field and it would just be a better environment.”

With the Dacotah Field lights, games could start at 7 p.m. rather than the current 4 p.m. starts, Cook said. It would be the third turf surface in the Summit League along with Indiana-Purdue Indianapolis and Missouri-Kansas City.

Ellig was principally designed as a track and field facility. Soccer would keep the grass practice field west of the track.

Taylor said the department may look at renovating the current stands at Dacotah Field, although it hasn’t been determined if that is even feasible. A new scoreboard would also be needed.

Taylor said it’s possible AstroTurf could begin work on installing the GameDay Grass this week if negotiations wrap up. It’s currently rolled up in sections and being stored by the Fargodome ramp.

“They either say yes to our deal or pack it up and haul it away,” Taylor said.

The Sprinturf at Dacotah was installed in the spring of 2009 and is still relatively new.

“It’s a truer bounce and it holds up to weather,” Cook said. “As a whole, it’s just a more consistent surface to play on.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia