Sept. 22, 2005
- Ride the Rails: Hawkeye Express Information
- Game-Day Parking and Road Construction Information
- 2005 Hawkeye Huddles
- Follow the Renovation of Kinnick!
- The Schedule: 2005 and Beyond
Editor’s Note: The UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics began the process of replacing the turf inside historic Kinnick Stadium on Monday. Today, rolls of the new turf began arriving and were being laid on the floor of the stadium. The process will likely take approximately six days from start to finish.
What do Soldiers Field, Foxboro Stadium, Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Universiy of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium have in common?
Not much other than the fact that in about two weeks the football teams who call those facilities home will be playing home games on turf installed by Cygnet Turf of North Baltimore, Ohio.
The UI will begin the process of replacing the playing field inside Kinnick Stadium in earnest today. That project will begin just days after Cygnet completes a similar effort at Soldiers Field, home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
The process begins with the removal of sprinkler heads and other permanent markers used to help the facilities staff with the painting of the playing field. The project will hit high gear Sunday morning when Bush Seeding of Milan, Illinois starts stripping and shredding the top 1 ½ inches of biomass of turf, dirt and sand. After the entire field is cleared of its existing turf, the same machine will remove another inch and one-half of material.
Picutres of the progress are available for review inside the photo gallery of kinnickrenovation.com, the official world wide web site of the Iowa Hawkeyes. To visit that site, click HERE.
Ted Thorn, the person responsible for managing all that is green and growing on facilities managed by the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics – including the playing field inside Kinnick Stadium – said, “This process gets us to pure sand. We then will bring onto the site a laser grader that will take the surface and make it plus-or-minus one quarter of an inch level from endzone to endzone and sideline to sideline by leveling the existing clean sand.”
Thorn said the process of stripping and leveling the field will likely take up to four days. Then, it’s time for the installation of the new turf.
The sod that will be laid in Kinnick will come to the UI from Ohio where it was planted two years ago. It is 100 percent Kentucky Bluegrass grown in an 80 percent sand soil. It will be cut in four-foot wide strips and will include between 1 1/4 and 1 5/8 inches of soil surface below the grass, Thorn said.
“We’ll get some rooting immediately and more as the fall progresses. That process will only add stability. The field will be very playable from day one based on the simple fact of the weight and density of the turf itself.”
Ted Thorn, UI Director of Grounds
In a perfect world, the new playing field inside Kinnick will be laid and trimmed and 100 percent installed by the end of the day next Saturday. Then, the turf – a living and breathing thing, Thorn noted – starts reacting to its new environment. It eventually starts to put down roots.
“We’ll get some rooting immediately and more as the fall progresses. That process will only add stability. The field will be very playable from day one based on the simple fact of the weight and density of the turf itself,” said Thorn.
The turf that the Hawkeyes played on Saturday in their win over Northern Iowa is all but gone. Now the work will turn to leveling the sand base in preparation for the installation of the new turf.
“The width of the pieces and the weight of the mass will provide an excellent surface for game day starting with the Illinois game,” he added. Iowa entertains the Fighting Illini on Oct. 1 in this year’s Homecoming game. . Long-term, the UI will likely have to look a little differently at the playing field inside Kinnick from a “useful life” perspective.
“The reality of the environment inside Kinnick today versus a year ago is that there is very little air exchange and it is a space that will get very hot even in a cooler-than-normal Iowa summer,” said Thorn.
“Under these new circumstances we’re probably looking at a lifespan of four or five years for a natural grass field inside Kinnick versus the seven, eight or nine years that we’ve been able to get out of each new installation,” said Thorn.