By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau
Members of the GCU landscaping crew have plenty of things to keep them busy grooming lawns and trimming shrubbery on the well-manicured campus.
The new intramural field just east of North Gym won’t be one of them.
GCU is installing a synthetic turf called EasyTurf on the intramural field, giving the University a space big enough for two soccer fields that will always be ready to use.
Rich Oesterle, GCU’s assistant director of campus development, said EasyTurf was chosen over grass because it provides the “ability to hold intramurals, camps and soccer games on a turf that will be green year-round.”
“Our soccer teams can also practice on it if they’re going to northern California or some place that uses FieldTurf,” Oesterle said.
EasyTurf is manufactured by FieldTurf – the surface that is used in 22 of 32 NFL stadiums or practice facilities. Locally, FieldTurf was used for Arizona State University’s domed practice field and the football field for Brophy College Prep in Phoenix.
EasyTurf is a two-inch polyethylene fiber with a net backing that provides better water drainage than natural grass and lasts 15-20 years, said Don Gabbard, president of Sunburst Landscaping, an authorized dealer of EasyTurf.
Three-quarters of an inch of silica sand is added to the “grass” fibers, followed by another three-quarters of an inch of rubber granules made of re-ground athletic shoes and recycled tire material. This provides a “synthetic earth” base and acts as a cushion for the turf.
For the intramural space at GCU, 75 tons of sand and 75 tons of rubber granules will be trucked in.
“We’ll start the infill on Friday and hope to be done by next Friday,” Gabbard said.
Oesterle emphasized that employees and students need to stay off the surface during the installation process because the turf seams are still being glued together.