New digs for 2010

St. Norbert is starting a stadium from scratch this summer.

The summer is prime time for building projects and renovations, new turf and lights, and Division III has a bunch of stadiums getting new looks in preparation for the 2010 season.

The most drastic might be at St. Norbert, where the Green Knights will be playing in a brand-new stadium in the fall, replacing 70-year-old Minahan Stadium. Donald J. Schneider Stadium is a mile closer to campus, will have artificial turf, lights and locker room space for more than twice as many players. St. Norbert's stadium opens Saturday, Sept. 4, with a home game against St. Thomas.

The last of the old turf rugs are being removed. Once Alfred's FieldTurf and Lewis and Clark's new Astroturf is in place, that will be the end of Astroturf in Division III football. They were the last two surviving fields with the rug.

Merrill Field's new grandstand, with a seating capacity of 1,645, is scheduled to be installed in August and will include 210 box-style seats as well as aluminum bleacher seating for 1,435 spectators. Combined with the existing bleachers on the visitors' side and behind the south end zone, Merrill Field will have a total seating capacity of nearly 3,000. Alfred's home opener is Sept. 4 against Widener.

Franklin couldn't host its national quarterfinal game on campus in 2008 because of the condition of its grass field. That won't be a problem anymore now that Faught Stadium is getting refurbished. Lights are being added and a new artificial surface is being installed. Wabash is also installing new artificial turf, while lights are also being added at Catholic U.