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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 19 2012

NDSU, AstroTurf agree on deal that gives Bison another turf football practice field

FARGO – The North Dakota State athletic department finalized a deal with AstroTurf that will give the football program another artificial surface practice field.

NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said the $350,000 agreement will be funded by the Team Makers booster group. Taylor said a sponsor is in line to help with a major portion of the cost, but that has not been finalized.

The AstroTurf GameDay Grass became available when it was removed from the Fargodome after just two months because of a glitch in the underlay. It will not affect the outdoor placement.

The cost includes installation, which could begin next week and is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

“We appreciate how well they’ve worked with us,” Taylor said of AstroTurf, based in Dalton, Ga. “We’re kind of at the cutting edge of the weather, but we’ll try to get it in.”

The project received approval of the state Board of Higher Education. Looking ahead, Taylor said NDSU may look at installing anchors in the concrete base in case it wants to build a bubble over the field.

“Down the road, that’s always an option,” Taylor said. “We would have to find somebody to help us fund a bubble, but yeah, absolutely.”

The GameDay Grass will be installed at the western-most of the three grass practice fields. The inscription of the Fargodome’s field sponsor, Gate City Bank Field, will remain on the outdoor field.

The new turf could mean the women’s soccer program could make the current Dacotah Field Sprinturf its new home, although details like figuring out the viability of the existing stands still needs to be figured out.

The current soccer field at Ellig Sports Complex is too small by NCAA standards at 106 yards by 63 yards. The NCAA minimum is 110 by 70, said Bison head coach Mark Cook. Plus, NDSU could use the Dacotah Field location for night games because of the lights.

Taylor said the relationship with AstroTurf has gone so smooth that the school plans on helping the company market its product.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia