<strong>LOGAN, Utah -</strong> Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium will have a new look when Utah State’s football team opens the 2012 season on Thursday, Aug. 28 against Southern Utah at 6 p.m., as crews are currently removing the old synthetic Sprinturf that was installed in 2004 and replacing it with new AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Extreme. The project is expected to take three weeks and will be completed prior to football players reporting for fall camp which begins on Thursday, Aug. 2.
The AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Extreme football field will feature Utah State’s new logo at mid-field, with ‘Merlin Olsen Field’ written out on both the right and left hash marks from the 15 to 35-yard line, both in traditional navy blue. Both end zones will also be navy blue with the ‘Utah State’ word mark in the south end zone, and the ‘Aggies’ word mark in the north end zone, bookended by the new Aggie Bull logo. All logos and word marks in both end zones will utilize USU’s new Pewter color.
“First of all, having a new playing surface excites the kids. It will have a great look and a different look than many of the fields in the country the way we have it diagramed, and I think the players and fans will like that,” said USU head football coach Gary Andersen.
“Second, it should be fast, which will be good for our players to get out and play on; it’s the best turf you can get. And finally, it continues to build our facilities. This field is not just for games. We can have quality practices on this surface in good and bad weather, and it gives us another opportunity to continue to prepare for games at the highest level,” added Andersen.
AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Extreme combines a monofilament Horseshoe fiber with a slit film product. The Horseshoe fiber has an Omega-shape, which is more resilient and bounces back, staying upright longer. It also reflects less light and heat. The slit film offers the ultimate in durability. The field also has a face weight of 60 ounces of fiber per square yard, the highest in the industry. This adds to the durability provided by the fiber shape.
In extensive testing, AstroTurf GameDay Grass systems perform most like natural grass from ball roll, to slide resistance, to the biomechanical function of cleats penetrating and releasing properly. A study at Michigan State University, funded by NFL Charities, found that AstroTurf GameDay Grass systems looked and performed more like natural grass than any other synthetic product measured, also making it the safest option.
The field features AstroFlect heat reduction technology, which can lower surface temperatures by as much as 18 percent. The field also has RootZone, a thatch layer which holds the sand and rubber infill in place for less splash and migration, making for a more consistent playing surface.
The field rests atop an all-new AstroBase system, 15,000 interlocking panels which will provide stability for the field, allow for better drainage, and decrease installation time.
Utah State has another venue that is getting a face-lift this summer as the playing floor inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum is being resurfaced. The new U-State logo will be showcased at center court in its traditional navy blue, while the new Aggie Bull logo will placed on each side of half-court with the new ‘Aggies’ word mark located directly underneath, both also in navy blue. Finally, the new ‘Utah State’ word mark, written in white, will be located on both baselines, which will also be navy blue.
“The installation of the new turf inside Merlin Olsen Field and the resurfacing of the court at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum are continued steps in the enhancement of our facilities,” said USU Director of Athletics Scott Barnes. “These are our most visible playing venues so we take full advantage of showcasing our new logos.”
Upgrades to both playing surfaces are the latest in a series of recent athletic facility improvements at Utah State. In 2008, the University completed construction on the 69,000 square foot Jim & Carol Laub Athletics-Academics Complex. In 2009, USU opened the Steve Mothersell Athletics Hall of Honor as well as its new off-court basketball facilities, which include the Nate and Heather Wickizer men’s basketball and MerLynn Pitcher women’s basketball locker rooms. In 2010, USU opened the Dr. Randall and Julianne Stockham Student-Athlete Academic Hall of Honor. In 2011, a new synthetic turf was installed in the Stan Laub Indoor Training Center, and in May, 2012, USU held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new $6.4 million, 21,000 square feet strength and conditioning center.
Fans can watch live webcams of both projects via Utah State’s web site at: <a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.utahstateaggies.com/facilityupdates.html”>http://www.utahstateaggies.com/facilityupdates.html</a>