FSU is planning to undertake a $1.3 million project to renovate the Maple Street football field, according to Patricia Whitney, assistant vice president of facilities and capital planning operations.
The renovations will begin this month and are projected to be completed in August. “It will basically take all summer,” Whitney said.
According to Whitney, the typical lifespan of a football field is approximately 10 years, and FSU’s field has not been updated in 15. “We waited a little bit too long,” she said.
She attributed the delay to lack of funding.
Whitney added, “That’s why ours has a lot of problems. It’s really outgrown its useful life.”
According to Dale Hamel, executive vice president, funding for the project was provided by FSU and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance.
Hamel said this comes from bond funding from the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts State College Building Authority, which owns many of the buildings and facilities on the FSU campus.
The bulk of the funds, $958,000, will be used for “direct construction.” The rest of the expenses include the site study, architecture and engineering fees, and general development.
Regarding the extent of the renovations, Whitney said the field’s green AstroTurf will be removed and replaced, not only due to aesthetic concerns, but also safety issues posed by its age.
“It’s a newer-version carpet, so it has some new features. It has something called a thatch layer with sand and pellets … which gives players protection. Over time, if you do any plowing,” she said, referring to cleaning and maintenance, “it removes sand and those pellets.”
She added, “It’s like a new car. … It’s a new, better iPhone model.”
Whitney said additional drainage pipes will be installed underneath the turf “to help get water off the field more quickly.”
Sand and stone will also be added to make the playing field more level, she said.
Football isn’t the only sport that uses the field – the school’s track and field teams will also practice on the track surrounding it. The renovations will include track resurfacing as well.
“They will fix the cracks in the asphalt and repaint the track,” she said. “They’re not making it any wider – they’re just replacing the surface.”
Whitney said she and her department have been working closely with the FSU Athletics department, especially Tom Kelley, head football coach, and Carey Eggen, associate director of athletics, to make sure construction doesn’t conflict with the Athletics department’s schedule.
“It shouldn’t affect any games,” Kelley said.
He said he hopes the “drainage problem” will be fixed following the completion of the renovations.