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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 12 2013

NDSU starts on upgrade of Dacotah Field

FARGO – The old dog is getting new life. North Dakota State has begun a rehabilitation of the old Dacotah Field stands for the purpose of making a new home for women’s soccer.

The FieldTurf surface will still remain a practice facility for the Bison football team, particularly late in the fall when the artificial surface and lights are needed. The Dacotah upgrade will also include remodeling the press box and a new scoreboard.

The $200,000 price tag will be paid for from a university fund earmarked for facility upgrades and safety standards, said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor. He said the stands have been structurally tested and are safe. The old lead paint has been removed and new bleachers will be installed.

Only the middle section of the bleachers will be usable because of cost and will have a capacity of about 1,000.

“It’s a great addition for soccer,” Taylor said.

New AstroTurf being installed at one of three Bison football practice fields south of the Bison Sports Arena made Dacotah Field that much more flexible, Taylor said. Plus, he said, the current home soccer field at Ellig Sports Complex is too small for NCAA regulations.

NDSU soccer will still practice at Ellig, but will play all its home games this fall at Dacotah. It generally plays games on Fridays and Sundays, which further avoid a conflict with football.

“When football needs to get on it, I think we can time it so both programs can be out there,” Taylor said.

Soccer will not play night games because the lights aren’t bright enough for game competition.

NDSU would like turf at Newman; F-M not so sure

Looking long term, the NDSU athletic department would someday like to put artificial turf at Newman Outdoor Field, although that would take the approval of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

The Bison and the minor league baseball club share the field.

The potential advantage for NDSU was magnified this spring by the poor weather. The Bison baseball team would most likely be able to get on the field earlier than usual with turf, which would be placed over the entire field including the infield. Plus, Taylor said, there would be savings in maintenance and the facility could be rented out more often without endangering the playing surface.

But he said there have been no formal discussions with the RedHawks. Furthermore, RedHawks general manager Josh Buchholz said there wouldn’t be many benefits for his organization, which likes the tradition of the natural grass in the summer.

“It’s nothing on the RedHawks radar right now,” Buchholz said. “Obviously there’s a cost associated with it. I know it’s a discussion NDSU wants to have and we probably need to sit down with them.”

Buchholz said Fargo-Moorhead doesn’t have very many rainouts. Two teams in the American Association, Grand Prairie (Texas) and Wichita (Kan.) both have turf fields. A big advantage for Wichita, Buchholz said, is it hosts the National Baseball Congress tournament every year, an event that has several baseball games per day on the field. Grand Prairie, Buchholz said, was looking for a more multi-use facility so the turf made sense.

“It makes for an interesting discussion but we’re happy with grass here,” Buchholz said. “We’ll never say never to anything, and obviously, we’re partners here at the stadium.”


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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia