Indoor Field Of Dreams: Stoller Center Fieldhouse Gets FieldTurf Surface
The installation of FieldTurf in the Stoller Center Fieldhouse gives a competitive advantage to Pacific's outdoor teams with a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility
View Photo Gallery Of FieldTurf Installation
FOREST GROVE – After a two-win weekend, Monday was an off day for the Pacific men's soccer program. But the day of rest did not keep a few members of the team from working out of the Stoller Center's Fieldhouse.
The same was true for members of the Pacific baseball team, football team and women's basketball team, who came in out of the rain to the newest addition to Pacific's athletics facilities: the installation of FieldTurf on the fieldhouse floor.
True to form, the indoor surface plays like the real thing. “I thought it was going to be a bit harder than the turf outside, but it plays just like outside,” said Kody Ganiko, a member of Pacific's men's soccer program. “With the winter coming and the rain coming, it will be nice practice inside and stay warm.”
The FieldTurf surface in the fieldhouse is the new addition in a push to upgrade Pacific's athletics facilities over the last five years. The University spent over $86,000 for the installation of the artificial surface, nearly $54,000 of which came from a special fundraising appeal at this year's Pacific University Legends Golf Classic.
According to Pacific Director of Athletics Ken Schumann, the University is the only NCAA Division III program in the west, and just one of a handful in the nation, that has an indoor artificial surface. The addition certainly gives Pacific's program an edge in a climate where wet weather is the norm for much of the academic year.
“The installation of the FieldTurf will allow for greater use of the facility and a safe and reliable surface for the students who use it,” Schumann said. “This also places Pacific on the cutting edge of small college athletic facilities as the only NCAA Division III schools in the Northwest to have an artificial turf indoor facility.”
That commitment to facilities is not lost on Head Football Coach Keith Buckley, who notes that the changes have allowed Pacific to keep pace in the dramatic growth in the number of student-athletes taking part in the Boxers' 21 varsity athletic programs. “The effort to complete this project epitomizes the athletic and University administration's support of providing out student-athletes the facilities possible to prepare and train in,” Buckley said. “This is truly a great addition to Pacific athletics.”
In addition to use by student-athletes, the new surface will benefit student recreational users participating in activities such as Ultimate Frisbee, as well as the University's intramural program.
The installation of the FieldTurf in the fieldhouse is the latest in the continuing evolution of the first indoor facility for outdoor sports built in the Northwest at a college of any level. Completed in 1970, the fieldhouse featured a dirt floor until an Astroturf surface was overlayed in the building during the 1980s. After Pacific's original football program was discontinued in 1992, the University installed an all-purpose Tartan surface, which stayed in place for over 20 years.
While the Tartan allowed Pacific's outdoor teams to spend some significant time indoors during the wet winter months, the hard surface and concrete walls had their disadvantages. For baseball and softball, the ball didn't play the same off of Tartan as it does on a natural grass surface or outdoor artificial grass surface.
“On the Tartan surface, balls would bounce much higher and it wouldn't be very realistic,” said Pacific Head Baseball Coach Greg Bradley. “We couldn't develop all of the good habits that we need to develop in terms of the speed of the ball and reaction time. Those are things we can all do now with the installation of the FieldTurf. We can now be inside and get the correct bounce, the height and the speed that we will wind up having when we play on real grass.”
When the fieldhouse re-opened to general use on Monday, many of Bradley's charges took the opportunity to take in a little workout. About 10 Boxer baseballers took turns fielding grounders and taking a chance to hone their skills despite a rainy afternoon.
“This will make a big difference for us,” said Pacific pitcher/outfielder Chad Fahey, who was among the players taking ground balls. “To be able to get in here and take ground balls without high hops off the rubber that we used to have. Now we will be able to have more of a game-like feel.”
Tim Hill, head coach of Pacific's softball program, thinks the surface will give his program a head start on the season. “Being able to practice on a surface that closely actual field conditions puts us in the advantageous position of being better prepared for our early spring games,” said Hill.
For Buckley, the new facility gives Pacific football an additional surface to further divide out the team for specific skill position practices. Currently the team divides the 130 players between Lincoln Park Stadium's FieldTurf surface and the complex's adjacent natural grass surface.
“The fieldhouse turfing gives us, along with all of the outdoor sports at Pacific, additional space to train year round regardless of the elements,” Buckley said. “Our players are extremely excited to put this new space to use in all facets of our developing football program.”
ABOUT FIELDTURF: A product of Tarkett Sports of France, FieldTurf is the preferred artificial grass surface for many college and professional teams throughout the United States. The surface is made up of extruded monofilament fibers that are tufted into the backing material and then filled in with a patented infill of sand and cryogenic rubber. FieldTurf fields have hosted the Super Bowl, BCS National Championship games, World Cup matches and the World Series. FieldTurf was the first synthetic turf system to receive FIFA's Recommended status in soccer. For more information, visit www.fieldturf.com.
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