MINNEAPOLIS -- Augsburg College is replacing its artificial turf at Edor Nelson Field with a new FieldTurf Revolution surface this summer, college officials have announced.
The $600,000 project began on Monday and will be completed by July 31, according to Greg Holker, Augsburg men's soccer head coach and assistant manager of athletic facilities.
Edor Nelson Field is the home of five Augsburg varsity athletic teams -- football, men's and women's soccer, softball and women's lacrosse -- and also is used by the college's intramural programs and health and physical education classes. In addition, the field is also used by community groups from throughout the Twin Cities area. The field is covered by an air-supported dome during the winter months.
"I'm excited about the new turf project for our athletic field," said Jeff Swenson, Augsburg athletic director. "This project will provide many positive benefits for our student-athletes, along with everyone in the Augsburg community."
In addition to the new turf, there will also be structural changes to the field, Holker noted. The dimensions will be widened by four yards for its soccer configuration, and the softball infield will feature one cutout for the pitcher's plate.
"This is a necessary improvement for our athletic teams and customers, as our current surface had reached beyond its expected life," Holker said. "On top of improving the quality of the surface with FieldTurf, I am excited about the prospect of playing on a wider soccer field. That's an incredibly exciting development for our program."
Augsburg will be installing FieldTurf Revolution as its new field surface. According to FieldTurf: "The FieldTurf Revolution fiber is the result of innovative science, engineering and technology that provides FieldTurf customers with a soft, strong monofilament fiber with extraordinary durability and longevity. Coupled with FieldTurf's patented heavy 3-layer infill system and state-of-the-art SureLock coating method, the FieldTurf Revolution turf system has been designed to be the very best synthetic turf system with unparalleled player safety and turf drainage rates."
"The new turf will enable women's lacrosse to more easily be played on campus," said Augsburg women's lacrosse coach Kathryn Knippenberg, whose Auggies will be the first varsity collegiate women's lacrosse program in Minnesota when it begins play in the spring of 2014. "Putting in new turf meant that lacrosse-specific lines could be put in. This is a huge help during practices, and will more easily allow our team to host games. I am really looking forward to getting out there next spring."
FieldTurf Revolution is the surface used at the University of Minnesota's Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex outdoor practice field. FieldTurf Revolution is also used at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash., home to the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and MLS' Seattle Sounders FC; the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' (CFL) new stadium; and football stadiums at the University of Missouri, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, Fresno State University, U.S. Naval Academy and the University of New Mexico, among others. In Minnesota, St. Louis Park and Minnetonka high schools have FieldTurf Revolution fields.
"Our new field positions us as having one of the best facilities in the country," said Augsburg women's soccer coach Mike Navarre. "Combine our unique gameday environment with a state-of-the-art surface for the players, along with the dome that enables access to the field in the winter, and you have a platform for student-athletes to thrive at Augsburg."
Edor Nelson Field was first used as a competition surface in 1984, when it was renovated from a half-size practice field to its current multi-sport use. The first artificial turf surface on the field came from the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome in 1984. Another AstroTurf-brand surface was used from 1993 to 2004, and in the summer of 2004, the college installed a Sprinturf-brand surface on the field.
In 2006, as part of the college's Kennedy Center construction project, new bleachers were installed on the field, raising the seating level and enabling fans to have a better view of game action. A new press box was installed at the field in 2008.
The field was originally named Anderson-Nelson Field, named for former Augsburg basketball coach and athletic director Ernie Anderson '37 and for former Augsburg football and baseball coach Edor Nelson '38. In 2001, the field was renamed Edor Nelson Field, after the college renamed the Si Melby Hall main competition court in Anderson's honor.
A native of Dawson, Minn., Edor Nelson earned Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame honors as both a student-athlete and coach. As an athlete, he was a multi-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. After serving his country in World War II -- including six months of imprisonment in a German prison camp -- he returned to the United States, earning his master's degree at the University of Minnesota in 1947. He taught and coached for three years in Lamberton, Minn., and returned to Augsburg in 1946. He coached football from 1947 to 1969 and coached baseball from 1946 to 1979, also coaching hockey and wrestling at Augsburg for a short time in the 1950s.
(NOTE: This story includes information from Augsburg's athletic facilities page and other news releases.)