As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Inside we take a good look at Idaho's new RealGrass in-fill synthetic field currently being installed in the Kibbie Dome, and the photos show a remarkable improvement over the old carpet. This is the first step in what will ultimately be "major" renovations to the Kibbie Dome in the months and years ahead.
Long overdue, the University of Idaho pulled out the AstroTurf field that had been in the Dome for well over a decade (one of the last college programs in the country to remove that form of artificial turf), and this summer began installing a brand new, RealGrass Pro in-fill artificial turf. It is the exact same turf used in the AlamoDome (home of the Alamo Bowl), as well as Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. To learn more about RealGrass, follow the link below:
LINK: Sportfield LLC, RealGrass Pro
The new turf is being installed almost wall-to-wall on the Kibbie Dome floor, stopping a few feet shy of both stands and the endzone walls. The pieces are in 5-yard wide rolls and are attached to each other by a Velcro system which is currently employed in the AlamoDome in San Antonio, Texas
(the 72,000 seat structure has been the home of the Alamo Bowl since 1993, last year hosting Texas vs Iowa
on their RealGrass surface). For this initial installation, a wide black strip of Velcro is laid down from sideline to sideline. Each roll has a Velcro strip on the bottom side of the outside edge, and the pieces are are secured to each other by the underlying Velcro.
Also for this initial installation, the installers are laying out the entire carpet first. The word "IDAHO" in 3-color block letters will be sewn into each end zone like they were on the SprinTurf practice fields in front of the Iverson Strength and Speed Center. Likewise, the I-Vandals logo will be sewn into the center of the field. The stripes, boundary markers, numbers, etc will then be applied. Finally, the rubber pellets will be blown into the carpet and the field will be ready. It will be similar in consistency to the practice field.
When it comes time to remove the turf, the pellets are NOT removed. The turf is rolled up along with the pellets in 5-yard-wide rolls (big rolls) and transported to/from storage by a heavy-duty fork lift.
The procedures used at the University of Idaho
to install, store, and remove the field will be similar to the procedures employed at the Alamo Dome.
Below are photos taken late Monday afternoon, and the job is proceeding at a very fast pace.:
Looking from the southwest corner of the Dome over to the "students" side of the stadium.|
The large black pouches on the sides of the field hold the rubber in-fill pellets that will be loaded into the turf.|
NOTE: The "IDAHO" and I-Vandals logos were not permanently installed when this photo was taken Monday night. The "IDAHO" text was later installed in the endzone part of the field closer to the east wall (see photos at bottom of this page taken today).|
View across field from southeast corner (NOTE: This photo and the photos above were taken before sidelines were completely filled in with turf).|
View looking west across field.|
Installing "IDAHO" in endzone (photo taken today).|
Installing "IDAHO" in endzone, sidelines also filled in with turf (background).|