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Published September 20, 2011, 10:12 PM

New Alerus Center Turf Possible For 2012 Football Season

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - UND and the Alerus Center are working fast to get new turf in place before the 2012 football season.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - UND and the Alerus Center are working fast to get new turf in place before the 2012 football season.

The big question left to discuss is how to pay for this new turf, and how that payment will be split. That needs to be decided within the next month, so the plan can move forward in time for the next football season.

The turf at the Alerus Center has reached its 10th birthday. That means it's time for a replacement.

"Currently we have more of a smaller nap turf. Longer fiber is what the new design is, so we're looking at that," Alerus Center Director of Operations Jeremy Linstad said.

Both the Alerus Center and UND are making this a high priority. But just how to split up the $4 million cost has not been decided.

"I think from an operating perspective it's pretty clear there is not the wherewithal within the existing athletics budget," UND Vice President of Finance and Operations Alice Brekke said.

UND has mentioned the possibility of corporate sponsors or donations to help with the large price tag. 80-percent of the turf's use comes from the school.

"Exactly how that will unfold, how much, over what period of time, I think is still very much a discussion," Brekke said.

The 2012 budget passed by the city council included some money for the new turf.

"We have earmarked over the next three years, we have the turf earmarked in there so that it was in the budget. Right now fully covered contingent on an agreement with UND," Linstad responded.

That agreement needs to be made fast. The turf takes about 6 months to manufacture.

"In order to make the 2012 season it's a very aggressive schedule. We would need basically everything worked out by November," Linstad said.

Part of the $4 million cost includes some construction on the turf pit. The newer turf is thicker than what is currently being used. It takes more room to roll up because of the thickness, and that will be part of the construction process.

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