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Published June 08, 2012, 04:06 PM

Construction Starts on New $4M Alerus Center Turf

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Construction is underway on the four million dollar turf project at the Alerus Center.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Construction is underway on the four million dollar turf project at the Alerus Center.

Crews are constantly working on the pit throughout the summer to finish in time for the first UND football game.

About 50 workers are filtering in and out of the Alerus Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get this project done by the end of August.

Workers are about to finish up their first phase and say everything is staying on schedule.

Construction on the Alerus Center's turf pit began Memorial Day weekend. Workers will be finishing up the first part of the project in about a week.

"The turf is a shaggier, just to be simple, it's a shaggier turf and it takes up more room on the spool when it's spooled up. So we basically had to take out the north wall of the pit area," project superintendent Dan Shirek said.

The turf pit has to be widened by about three and half feet to fit the new, thicker astroturf once it's rolled up.

"It will help us out with conversions. It'll be a little quicker to take in and to put down, which again will help us do more events here at the building," Alerus Center Assistant Director Bob LeBarron said.

Crews will put up new walls in about a week and a half, then pour the floor. Workers hope to have most of the construction done by July 10.

"We've got a mess on the parking lot right now with the dirt and everything that's been brought out. The messy part of the job will be done about the first week or so in July," Shirek said.

Both the University of North Dakota Athletics Department and the staff at the Alerus Center are excited to have a new playing field.

"It's a new turf. It's a new conference. It's a new era in UND football and this is just one piece of an entire bigger puzzle," LeBarron said.

The turf crews will come up after construction is finished in early August. They're working on the Fargodome right now then will head up here to cut and fit the new field.