Ducks to Donate Autzen Turf to University's Recreation Services

Feb. 21, 2002

EUGENE - The University of Oregon students will be the beneficiary of the decision not to reinstall last year's playing surface into Autzen Stadium when the majority of the facility's renovation is completed this summer, according to an announcement by the school's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bill Moos.

Instead, the NeXturfTM synthetic surface installed into Autzen Stadium for the first time last summer will be utilized by the university to aid in the addition of a second artificial surface field on campus for use by the department of Physical Activity and Recreation Services (PARS), which oversees educational and recreation activities for the entire student population. This field, which was originally planned as part of the construction of the school's 15th Street Student Recreation Center two years ago, was deleted from the project at that time in order for the remainder of the project to remain within budget. It will serve to complement Oregon's lone multi-purpose student recreation field, which is primarily used for the university's intramural sports, recreational programs, club sports as well as academic physical education classes.

The second artificial surface, which will be located immediately south of the existing recreational field and to the west of Hayward Field, is expected to be completed in time for the beginning of the 2002 fall term.

The gift not only will include the turf but the site excavation and preparation for installation as well, with all the costs, including the purchase and installation of the new turf into Autzen Stadium, estimated to be between $800 and $900 thousand and paid for by the athletic department.

When the synthetic surface was installed into Autzen Stadium last summer, the original intent was to have it removed following the Ducks' final football game Dec. 1 in order to diminish possible damage that could have occurred during the current stadium expansion and renovation project. It was then to have been permanently reinstalled in time for the 2002 football home opener vs. Mississippi State (Aug. 31).

The athletic department has decided to replace the former surface with FieldTurfTM, which consists of polyethylene and polypropylene fibers designed to resist extreme temperature and weather conditions.

Oregon's athletic director indicated that the decision to switch surfaces in Autzen Stadium after only one year would not have been possible had it not been for the unprecedented success enjoyed by the football program last season. The Ducks captured the outright Pacific-10 Conference championship with a 11-1 record and finished the year ranked second in the country in all of the major polls.

'Because of our extraordinary football season, we are in a position to offer our turf to the university's Department of Physical Activities and Recreation Services free of cost, thus enabling intercollegiate athletics to install an alternate product that will be more suitable to our needs,' Moos said. 'NeXturfTM will be ideal for PARS considering the demands on their facilities from intramurals, club sports and general student use.'

Dennis Munroe, director of PARS, said he was grateful for the additional opportunities the gift would provide to the university's students and was another example of the positive impact the athletic department's success has made to the academic programs and student life at the University of Oregon.

'Over 60 percent of the students take advantage of the facilities, programs and classes of the new Student Recreation Center, which was constructed entirely through student fees and no state funds,' Munroe emphasized. 'Given the demand on facilities and the swelling enrollment, this additional all-weather multi-purpose field is sorely needed and deeply appreciated.'

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