Football field to be replaced with turf

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The current turf on the soccer fields, installed in 2013. Brandon Rowley / el Don

The grass inside the track-and-field area on campus is scheduled to be replaced with synthetic turf by Oct. 2025.

While construction takes place, football will need to relocate their practices at the already turfed soccer field.

The contract signed with PBK Architects will start at $330,000 for replacement turf, upgraded scoreboard, and additional lighting.

“This has been planned for about two and a half years,” said football coach James Guigliamana. “Our ultimate goal is to be able to host home games here, so the student body can feel more connected and involved with the teams.”

The Dons football team currently plays their home games downtown at the Santa Ana Bowl.

It costs SAC around $17,000 per season to rent out the stadium yet the college doesn’t earn money from parking or concessions.        

Players and coaches have voiced concerns about the incoming turf field, as there is a possible increased risk of injury. 

“In my experience of playing on turf fields, you just don’t get enough grip,” said SAC wide receiver Kaden Vesermark. “You feel like you slide everywhere, and it messes up your knees because you don’t get support from hard turf.”

According to a study by the Associated Press, turf fields have a 20% increase in non-contact injuries over natural grass fields.

“My only concern is that the field will affect how we practice,” said Guigliamana. “The rough grass and mud make it so we have to work harder in practice, so we are even faster and stronger in games.”

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The grass field may have provided an in-game advantage; however, the field is worn down.

“Our grass is in such bad condition by the middle of the season, it has turned into dirt,” said Athletic Trainer José Uribe. “The turf would be safer for our players at that point.”

Upkeep of the natural field can total up to $200,000 a year. With the minimal upkeep required for turf, the board claims the field will essentially pay for itself in a couple of years.

 “Turfing that field is going to allow us to be able to host multiple events and track meets,” said Athletic Director Mary Hegarty. “Eventually down the line, we’re looking at turfing baseball and softball. Ultimately, it’s way less maintenance and gives us the ability to use the fields more.”

The plan has been spearheaded by President Annebelle Nery without bond support.

Despite the inconveniences and cost, Hegarty remains optimistic.

“We are super excited about this, can’t wait for what’s to come.”

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