The University of Idaho (UI) is welcoming students this fall with state-of-the-art outdoor turf for its sports stadium as well as other upgrades to the school’s sports and recreation program.
UI has contracted premier artificial turf installation firm Coast to Coast Turf in setting up a playing surface that has three unique fibers for improved durability and aesthetics. The company also installed an extra layer to provide additional cushioning for student-athletes while keeping the surface fast to play on.
Associate Director for Student-Athlete Health and Performance, Chris Walsh, said investing in a safe playing surface is a vital component to reduce the risk of sports injuries. He also stated that the new field will play an important role as the school prepares to reinstate in-person classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new field surface will provide a much safer environment for our student-athletes to practice and compete on. Additionally, keeping in line with the NCAA recommendation to maximize outdoor activity, having the ability to increase our training frequency outdoors will help mitigate COVID-19 risk,” he told KTVB.
In addition to being a training facility for the UI football team, the field will be used for intramurals, club sports, and other outdoor activities.
‘Making a Difference’
Greg McDonald, who contributed to construction of the new field, believes that the improved facility could help attract more students, especially those interested in sports.
“Regardless if you’re in band, varsity sports, club sports, intramurals, or a resident on campus, it’s going to be a show place for the university in many respects. It’s long overdue in many respects and we’re excited that we can help get it done,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, UI football head coach, Paul Petrino, said that recent improvements in the sports program could help his team improve and make the university a premier institution.
Soccer head coach Jeremy Clevenger expressed his belief that the high-quality playing surface will help better prepare the team for big competitions. However, he pointed out that scheduling for the improved facility will be challenging.
In addition to the new outdoor turf, UI has invested in improving its memorial gymnasium and swimming facility.