The 2020 UND football season may be up in the air, but the program's playing surface is nearly ready for action.
The Alerus Center hopes to have the new, permanent $1.8 million turf project completed by the end of the month.
The turf features unique alternating shades of green in 5-yard increments, as well as a Fighting Hawks logo at midfield. Previously, the turf had an Alerus Center logo at midfield.
The font of the yard markers has also changed with the new turf.
As with the previous turf, the end zones will be black and feature the words "North Dakota."
On Thursday, workers were cutting out yard markers. The end zones, midfield logo, Missouri Valley Football Conference logos and yet-to-be-named sponsor logos are next to be completed.
The new turf extends the full length of the facility and doesn't leave open concrete sections as before. The turf also stretches back to both the home and visitor locker rooms, so teams will walk on turf all the way from the locker room to the playing surface.
The turf has been installed by Kiefer USA, which installed the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
“We are excited for the new look and feel the Kiefer USA and Turf Nation field will provide,” said Erik Martinson, UND associate athletic director. “Working closely with the Alerus Center staff and fine tuning this project for the best look possible has been fun. Having a turf that is permanently down 100 percent of the time allows for a more uniform, safe and flat field that gives this grass-like surface a real top tier look and feel for our student-athletes and our great fans attending at Alerus Center and watching at home.”
Because the turf is permanent, it will always be set in the arena rather than rolling in and out of the pit like the previous turf. When the building hosts events such as a concert, the turf will be covered by large plastic panels to ensure a secure flooring.
Based on the cost of the Alerus Center's previous turf installation, the project was originally budgeted as a $4 million undertaking.
"There are obviously benefits for the team, and the ability to sell more dates and drive that economic impact for the community ... but we're also really proud to do this for half of the cost of the budget," Alerus Center General Manager Anna Rosburg said. "This has given us the ability to have more flexibility in future years with capital and to be responsible to the fiscal component of the taxpayers in the city of Grand Forks."