July 20, 2011
By Mark Janssen - K-State Sports Extra
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Frank Myers Field at Tointon Family Stadium is in the process of getting a new AstroTurf field.
While carrying the same name - AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 - as the newly installed infill artificial surface at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, K-State Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott said, "The blade is a little different than the football field but has the same special `thatch base' that allows the sand and rubber to settle deeper into the turf."
With the exception of the clay pitcher's mound, the rest of the field will be covered by the artificial surface, which includes the batter's box and the outfield that have been clay and natural grass, respectively.
In addition, the bullpen areas will be covered by AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60, plus a more durable artificial surface will be put in the batting cages off the left field line.
"The AstroTurf product will allow us to take advantage of outdoor practice at all times of the year," head coach Brad Hill said. "The hope is that this will be one of the best playing surfaces in the conference for the next several years."
The process, which will be headed by Mid-America Golf and Landscape, includes construction of a six-inch rock base that is rolled for compaction and laser-graded to assure proper drainage prior to the AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 being installed on top.
In order to simulate a natural grass infield and create as fast a surface as possible, the infield blade will stand 1 5/8-inches, and in normal baseball field fashion, the outfield grass will be taller at 1 7/8-inches. On the football field, there is a 50-50 sand and rubber infill mixture, while the blend for baseball is 70 percent sand and 30 percent rubber.
"Coach (Brad) Hill wants it to be a fast surface," said Scott, who said the purple and white "KS" baseball logo will be displayed in center field and the Powercat logo behind home plate. "The football turf has a more rigid blade, while the baseball blade will be more flexible to eliminate the resistance on the ball."
The batter's box, infield base paths and the 15-foot warning track will be a clay-brown in color, with the rest of the field being green.
Scott says roughly $50,000 a year will be saved on the annual field maintenance of fertilization, aeration and seeding/sodding, not to mention labor costs and eliminating the nearly 1.5 million gallons of water used to irrigate the field.
"Over time, we think the field will pay for itself, especially knowing we're getting a surface that will be consistent in how it plays starting in the fall and continuing into the spring," said Scott, who noted that this is the same surface used by two professional stadiums - Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Rogers Centre in Toronto - along with various other Division I schools, including Wichita State and Kansas.
Maintenance of the AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 is accomplish by using a groomer, or sweeper, that brushes the turf and helps maintain the consistency of the infill mix while cleaning debris from the field.
The former turf was installed in the summer of 2006, but included recently "re-sodded" areas around the three bases, which were worn from use during drills and normal play.
The new turf, like with the football field, will carry an eight-year warranty.
The installation of the AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60will be completed in time for the start of fall workouts in mid-September.
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