New Turf for Gryphon Football, Track Work Continues
August 23, 2012 - Campus Bulletin
The University of Guelph Gryphons will play their first home football game Sept. 15 on a new artificial playing surface in Alumni Stadium, although seating for spectators will be limited by ongoing construction work for the $4.8-million stadium project.
Crews will finish installing the turf surface this week, but the grassy hill located on the east side of the stadium will not be available for spectator seating for the first football game or for the Sept. 22 Homecoming game when the Gryphons take on the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues. This is due to continued work on an eight-lane International Athletic Federation-certified track that is part of the project.
In addition, food and vendors will be restricted or unavailable for these games due to the inability to access the track space.
The Department of Athletics will be allocating Homecoming tickets across three primary groups: students, alumni and community members; the latter includes U of G faculty and staff and City of Guelph residents. Ticket information is available online.
For Homecoming, the University will set up special viewing areas with large-screen TVs in the Gryphon arena, Brass Taps and the Grad Lounge. Student Housing also plans to host game-viewing opportunities. The game will be broadcast on The Score Television Network starting at 1 p.m.
The track is expected to be completed by early October. Asphalt for the track was laid in mid-August, but it has to cure for about 30 days before the rubberized track can be installed on top. The installation of new lighting will be postponed until the spring semester due to construction timelines.
Also new to Alumni Stadium will be a state-of-the-art video scoreboard designed by Nevco. The scoreboard, which was donated by an anonymous donor who worked with Nevco on the proposal, will be installed this fall, but not likely for the first game.
Another new addition to U of G athletics programs is the Gryphon Field House, which opened this summer. The pre-engineered steel building houses an indoor track as well as facilities for track and field events. The infield is made of artificial turf suitable for soccer, rugby, football, lacrosse, baseball and ultimate Frisbee. The field house includes a reception area, washrooms, storage lockers and equipment storage areas. Built for $9 million and measuring 300 by 185 feet, the building is part of U of G’s athletics master plan.
“U of G now has one of the best outdoor and indoor athletics facilities in Canada,” said Tom Kendall, director of athletics. “In addition to benefiting all of our sport teams, the field house will help the community because we can use the facility for University and public events year-round, regardless of weather. The renovated Alumni Stadium will host major athletic and cultural events, attract large numbers to the city and, most importantly, build a sense of community and connection in Guelph.”
Plans are also underway to build and renovate a student fitness and recreation complex. It will be partially funded through student contributions pledged in a 2010 student referendum.
Kendall says athletics is important in attracting and retaining students. “We recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle for student success. These changes will allow us to continue to be leaders in student support."