At Ron Joyce Stadium, the grass should look a little greener.
May saw the end of a year-long process to replace the turf. It’s the third installment of turf for the playing surface that hosts Marauder football, rugby and soccer games, as well as other community events.
“[The project] has been talked about since I arrived here. The turf was installed four or five years ago and it was starting to fail. It became a health and safety issue for our student-athletes and other participants,” said Glen Grunwald, director of Athletics and Recreation at McMaster University.
Replacing this kind of turf is standard procedure. But the athletic department believes the turf should not have to be replaced so soon.
“We had discussions with the previous installer to try and get them to honour the warranty for the product, and that was to no avail. Ultimately, we had to file a claim to get them to honour the warranty,” said Grunwald.
“In the mean time, we couldn’t allow our student-athletes to participate on the field for safety reasons and so we had to go forward with replacing the turf.”
The University approved the turf replacement project in December 2015. To find a company to replace the turf, the athletic department used a request for proposal method. Overall, the turf replacement cost approximately $1 million – the average cost for a replacement of this field size, according to Grunwald.
The turf itself is the “latest and greatest in terms of safety” says Grunwald. It is a step above the playing surface installed at Tim Hortons Field, which was completed in 2014.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats christened the turf, using Ron Joyce Stadium as the site for training camp. Feedback from the Canadian Football League team has been positive.
Come September, the student experience should be the same. There are no restrictions and intramurals will continue to use the field. There are some “minor details” that were changed, but students can look forward to hitting the turf in the fall.