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Published March 24, 2011, 09:41 PM

New, Better Turf in the Works for Alerus Center

New turf at the Alerus Center can't come soon enough for University of North Dakota's football program. A member of UND's coaching staff says the field needs new turf for many reasons, including the player's health.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

New turf at the Alerus Center can't come soon enough for University of North Dakota's football program.

A member of UND's coaching staff says the field needs new turf for many reasons, including the player's health.

Assistant UND football coach Mike Mannausau says UND is working with the Alerus Center to replace the decade-old AstroTurf in the city-owned Alerus.

"The playing surface of a field has a great affect on the success of a team," Mannausau said.

But new turf could be a few touchdowns away. Alerus Director of Operations Jeremy Linstad says right now it's on an list of items under review by a renovations committee. Linstad says they have narrowed down the turf search to synthetic field turf that looks, feels and performs much like natural grass. It also can be rolled up quickly like current AstorTurf.

"One of the things is versatility and making sure we are staying on top of the technology for the football team," Linstad said.

Mannausaus believes the top technology will help keep his players healthy.

"Our kids do get turf burn, and in a couple of cases they have ended up with staff infections because of the turf burn. Some kids have actually ended up in the hospital, missed practices and even games," Mannausau said.

Mannausau calls the current turf at the Alerus abrasive and unforgiving. Linstad says the new field turf would be much different than the older rubber-backed type.

New artificial grass will cost a lot of green, with an estimated price tag close to $4 million. That's money that would come from a Capitol Improvement Fund. Linstad says new turf could be in by next year if approved by the Alerus Commission and Grand Forks City Council.

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