New turf field in progress for UF Athletes

By Jacob King

Some people use Facebook to post pictures of their kids or share a cat video. Brad Morrison, chief executive officer of Maumee Bay Turf Center and a UF alumni, used Facebook to sell a turf field to The University of Findlay.

 Morrison’s turf company is very prominent for servicing fields of major events. The company handles anything from small yards to the Super Bowl. Morrison shared a photo of the turf field on Facebook and it caught the eye of friend Robert Keys, head football coach. The friendship between the two is one of the reasons athletes have this new field to practice on.

“He (Morrison) made a call to us and asked if we would be interested,” said Jim Givens, associate athletic director of business and development. “It was a way he could give back.”

The relation Morrison has with the University helped out with the cost of this project.

“It was definitely at a discounted price because of Brad,” said Givens.

No exact price was given for UF’s new field but a project this size doesn’t always have the cheapest price tag. Ohio Dominican University reported their cost for a new turf field was $342,150.

While Givens would not disclose the cost of the field, he did say it was a deep discount.

Other companies that sell used turf sell for as low as 50 cents a square foot. At 112,720 sq. ft., that would be about $56,360 for the UF practice facility.

The new turf field is currently being placed at the Armstrong practice facility on 1600 North Blanchard St., diagonally across the two current practice fields for the use of all student athletes. To many, this is a major development that will increase quality within athletics.

“You can’t even put into words how much better it’s going to be,” said Keys.

Keys said that practicing and playing on a turf field offers much more benefits to athletes. Such benefits include a reduction of wear and tear on tennis shoes, decrease in injuries and the ability to stand against weather.

“There are many benefits to playing on a turf field,” said Evan Rinke, UF football team captain. “First and foremost, the game itself is played predominantly on turf for playing surfaces, and being able to practice on the same surface you will play on Saturdays will be great.”

The new field is believed to serve as a smart financial investment for UF. Morrison described the 112,720 sq. ft. investment as “huge savings for the University.” Cost factors, such as maintenance and fertilizer, have now been greatly reduced.

Givens emphasized that the practicality of the field is for all UF athletes, not just football players.

“This is a multipurpose facility. Every one of our sports will step forth and use this facility,” said Givens.

“Consistency” was a constant word used to describe one of the major benefits to having a turf filed made available to athletes.

“Whether it’s raining, snowing or blistering hot… turf is turf” said Rinke.

Givens said the project should take about “60 days” to complete and delivery of turf will begin next week. Currently, development of the base and sub base areas has initiated.

According to Givens, the development of the turf field is just a small piece to a larger picture.

“We have a master plan for the entire area over there,” said Givens. “We’re hoping this project spurs that master plan.”

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