Board asked to approve move to synthetic surface

Another item on the board agenda is a privately funded $1 million project that will replace Kentucky’s current grass playing surface at Commonwealth Stadium with a “synthetic ‘in-fill’ type surface.”

The stadium’s playing surface has not been completely renovated since 2001, according to the action item before the board. The new project will include removal of the existing natural grass playing surface and sand-based subsurface as well as the installation of the synthetic surface.

The new field “will provide a more versatile competition and practice facility,” the agenda item says. “Additionally, the field will be used to support University student-athletes participating in other sports as the new, more durable surface will allow additional events to be scheduled in Commonwealth Stadium which are not possible on the existing playing surface.”

In July, head coach Mark Stoops confirmed the likely move from the current Bermuda grass to turf. He said the team would like to practice more often in the facility, which is not an option with the current surface.

“Our grounds crew does a phenomenal job, they work their tails off, they do an incredible job, but the fact of the matter is we can’t get on that field very much,” Stoops said.

Kentucky would become just one of five Southeastern Conference programs to have a synthetic playing surface. The others include Arkansas, Ole Miss, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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