Jan. 9, 2012
Boston College officials have announced that they have selected a new, state-of-the-art, custom-designed AstroTurf surface to be installed this spring in Alumni Stadium. BC will replace its existing artificial surface with an AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60H field.
"We went through an exhaustive search to find the best field available for our needs," BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo said. "We were impressed with what AstroTurf had to offer and they stood out as the logical choice."
"We felt like they came to us more as a partner than just a customer," Assistant AD for Facilities Joe Shirley said. "We felt secure because they are family-owned and control the manufacturing process from design through completion. Another game-changer was their commitment to safety and quality"
"We're excited about our future with the great folks at Boston College," said Dave Wheaton, Northeast Regional Sales Manager for AstroTurf. "This is not about a single project. It's about a long-term relationship."
According to AstroTurf officials, most teams installing a synthetic surface look at five major categories when choosing a turf. Those include availability, performance, maintenance, safety, and aesthetics.
AstroTurf fields offer more than four times the availability of grass fields and this was a key element for Boston College. The football team will be able to utilize the surface anytime for practice. During the winter months, the school will install an inflatable dome over the field. It can be used for winter workouts for football, as well as other sports like baseball. It will also serve as a playing surface for several intramural sports programs.
From a performance standpoint, the make-up of the AstroTurf system stands out. This surface features the all new Horseshoe fiber. This new fiber is enjoying unprecedented success in the sports field marketplace, due to factors such as its unique shape. The fiber's horseshoe shape features two end columns with a thicker diameter. The design imparts mechanical memory so that the fiber remains upright longer, unlike other fields whose fibers quickly flatten and split or shred at the spine. The Horseshoe fiber continues to spring back to its original configuration, even after years of heavy foot traffic or exposure to ultra-violet radiation.
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.
The Horseshoe fiber's shape also allows it to reflect light and heat away from the surface. That, in combination with AstroFlect heat reduction technology, can lower surface temperatures by as much as 18%.
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.
From a maintenance standpoint, the field will require periodic grooming, but maintenance efforts are greatly reduced. This will be vitally important as it related to the amount of use the new field will get, but will not require the maintenance required by a grass field to accommodate this level of use.
Regarding safety, a study at Michigan State University, funded by NFL Charities, found that AstroTurf GameDay Grass systems had performance values more like natural grass than any other synthetic product measured, making it the safest option. In extensive testing, the Horseshoe fiber performs most like natural grass from ball roll, to slide resistance, to the biomechanical function of cleats penetrating and releasing properly.
From an aesthetics standpoint, the fields look amazing. Making it even better is the fact that the football lines and logos are prefabricated and manufactured as part of the field, so the look is consistent.
There are a couple of added benefits. One is the environment. In 2010, BASF did a study comparing AstroTurf fields to natural grass fields. In 11 environmental categories, AstroTurf had a lower environmental footprint than natural grass. Factors contributing to this include reduced maintenance and mowing, which cause a variety of emissions. Other factors include elimination of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the need for water. AstroTurf fields also use soy-based polyols in the backing of products, reducing their dependence on foreign oil.
From an economic standpoint, over 20 years, AstroTurf fields are, on average, 15% less expensive than natural grass fields, even when the cost of turf replacement is considered.
Finally, the biggest benefit seen by the most people will be the performance of the Boston College football team.
"The AstroTurf field will allow us to better prepare for games, which translates to better performance," said Head Coach Frank Spaziani. "It's also important to recruiting, in that first-class facilities play a large role in recruiting success. We believe the turf will help us bring the best student-athletes to Boston College."
Installation of the field will be completed prior to the kickoff of the 2012 season. Home games featuring the new field will be played against opponents including Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Maryland.