Beaver Stadium Sod Replaced For First Time Since 2005
It’s been a long home stretch for the football team, and everyone from fans to Beaver Stadium crews and employees are feeling a little burned out. As it turns out, the field itself is too.
Starting Tuesday morning, crews began ripping up the sod in Beaver Stadium, which has been there since October 2005, and replacing it with fresh Kentucky bluegrass. While it is not uncommon for the sod to be on the field this long, the recent five-game home stretch compounded by three(!) rainy games and the upcoming break in the schedule made for the perfect time to replace it.
“The age of our playing surface, the intense nature of five straight football games, the weather we endured, and the high standard we hold ourselves to combined to bring about this decision in order to continue providing the most stable playing surface possible,” said Athletic Fields Supervisor Herb Combs. “The new sod will be better than the previous playing surface for the next two games and into 2016.”
After the old sod was removed, crews spent Wednesday prepping the dirt surface and yesterday laying the first half of the new field. The remainder of the sod will be put down today, and Combs expects that maintenance on the new surface will begin Monday with mowing and painting commencing shortly thereafter.
The sod comes to Happy Valley from Tuckahoe Turf Farms in Hammonton, NJ, and the 70,000 square feet that will be used for the athletic fields as well as a “back-up” nursery arrived by truck in four by 30-foot sections. A special machine is used to piece the sod sections together and assure a seamless playing surface.
The crew worked hard to provide a top-quality field despite the repeated beating a five-game streak put on it. Apparently it did a good job, because even James Franklin was impressed.
“The field conditions have been really good,” Franklin said. “Overall, they have been very good. We are fortunate to be in Beaver Stadium and playing on this type of surface. Our grounds crew and turf management program do an unbelievable job.”
However it was time to say goodbye to the grass that was walked on by Penn State football greats including Sam Ficken, Bill O’Brien, Michael Mauti, and Joe Paterno. The new field will make the job of the turf crew just a little bit easier as Penn State heads into its final two home games of the 2015 season and the future.
“Ultimately, this should be the best playing surface we can provide at this time of the year,” Combs said. “We are going to have a field that is brand new.”