By Justin Caudell
By the time the Catamounts have their next home football game on Saturday, Oct. 4 against Samford, they will be playing on a new turf.
Hours following Western Carolina’s home game against the Liberty Flames on Saturday, Sept. 13, the turf replacement project at E.J. Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field began under the lights. Surveyors took the field just before 10:45 pm that night, with the heavy machinery rolling in around 11:00 pm. The first piece of old turf was peeled back from the southwest end (Ramsey Center, West side stands) of the field with the visiting sidelines rolled up end zone to end zone to begin the process.
Carolina Green Corporation of Indian Hill, North Carolina will handle removing the old turf, as well as the installation of the new artifical playing surface.
Western’s new turf came from an overseas company, Desso Sports Systems, which is a leader in artificial surface fields in Europe. The company has provided turfs for football installations at schools such as Oklahoma State, Wyoming and Northern Colorado, as well as Denver and Green Bay in the National Football League (NFL).
The turf was supposed to be in place for the Catamounts first home game of the season against Shorter, but the arrival of the turf was delayed by international travel and customs, which prompted officials to delay the installation until after the start of the season.
As of press time, the old turf and previous base materials had already been removed and the rolling out of the new turf material started. The completion of the project was expected to be some time the week of Monday, Sept. 22.
Carolina Green Corp., which was contracted in 2003 to handle the field renovations at WCU Baseball’s Childress Field/Hennon Stadium, has a web cam that shows the progess of the field completion and a time lapse of the removal of the old turf in place. The web cam is mounted atop the press box at Whitmire Stadium and can be viewed on Carolina Green’s web site at www.cgcfields.com by clicking on the link for “Renovations to Western Carolina University – View Project Progress.”
A complete look at the new turf, as well as feelings from WCU football fans, will appear in the next edition of the Western Carolinan.