By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau
The new synthetic turf that is the Mariposa Lawn is fast becoming a sensation.
Pedestrians are drawn to it, often jumping on it to test its bounce or kneeling down to feel the grasslike fibers. And the Grand Canyon University men's lacrosse team has tried it out.
The new surface is not yet complete – more rubber infill will be added next week – but it is fully functional at this point.
“The turf is intended to be a multipurpose field that can be used by students either individually or in student groups, athletics, intramurals and events,” Rich Oesterle, GCU’s assistant director of campus development, said following a meeting Thursday to discuss maintenance of the new turf. “In the near future, there will be a three-foot ornamental fence surrounding the lawn to divert foot traffic around the field.”
The synthetic turf – called EasyTurf -- drains well and can be cleaned using a built-in power washer. Still, food items such as gum, sunflower seeds, tobacco products and soda are not the turf’s best friend.
The power "water cannon" also can be used to quickly cool the field, where the ambient temperature one foot above the surface can sometimes be 20-30 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature.
“It drains very, very well. Over 250 inches per hour, if necessary,” said Joe Matoskey, business development manager of Sunburst Landscaping, an authorized dealer of EasyTurf. “You’re seeing more and more universities around the nation that have this application.”
EasyTurf is a commercial brand of FieldTurf, which was used for Arizona State University’s domed practice field and the football field at Brophy College Prep in Phoenix. It is also used in stadiums or practice facilities of 22 of the 32 NFL teams.
At GCU, Oesterle said the turf initially will be striped with washable paint for intramural soccer, which begins Feb. 25. Lighting and the ornamental fence will be in place before then.
Plans are in the works to relocate the back-flow preventers, fiber boxes and fire hydrants located on the lawn, and the sand volleyball courts will be moved to the area near Brazell Stadium where the Pono Construction offices are now located. Pono’s offices will move to the northwestern corner of campus.
The synthetic turf will then be extended into the area where the volleyball courts are now located, creating enough room for a second full-size soccer field.
Reach Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or [email protected].