Pickens Joins Gundy on Tour of Projects

Boone Pickens, who donated part of the money for the summer projects for the OSU football program, flew to Stillwater on Wednesday and was joined by head coach Mike Gundy as they went on a tour of the projects. Joining Pickens and Gundy were Dan Almond of Millennium Sports and Richard Stillwell, attorney and personal advisor for Pickens. Almond is the chief consultant for the practice field and stadium surface project.

The group started at the practice field, formerly known as the Hedge Field. The facility now includes a 100-yard practice field running east and west with two 50-yard fields running north and south. There is also a 30-yard by 5-yard sand pit for conditioning work, and in the northwest corner and extended area for linemen to use for their drills. That area will help preserve the wear and the tear on the practice fields by giving the big men an area to work.

The project is close to complete as two-thirds of the area has been covered in the natural turf, Patriot Bermuda. The new turf is a strong strain of bermuda grass that is resistant to cold weather, grows fast, and is strong holding up to the constant pounding and usage. Once the surface is completely installed it will be top dressed and it is anticipated to be ready for use in roughly three weeks. It will first be used by the players for the conditioning work and field work during the summer workouts.

The group also toured the strength and conditioning center where a new floor is in the final stages of being installed. All new strength equipment is set to be delivered next week and it will be ready for the June 6 start of the summer workout program.

The locker room is having a new shower and drying area added for the players which will double the number of shower heads and space for players to dry off. That project is well underway and workers are close to beginning the start of the plumbing work for the new showers.

The group then proceeded to Boone Pickens Stadium to see that the old synthetic surface has been completely removed and the heavy equipment has already broken up nearly 30 yards of asphalt starting with the east end. The chunks of asphalt are being hauled out by truck leaving just the dirt and clay surface. When that process is completed more dirt will be removed. The crown that was on the field will be minimized, a new drainage system from Airfield Systems will be installed along with heating and cooling capacity for the field. A base of sand will be on top and the field will be topped by a new monofiliment synthetic turf from Desso DLW. The turf is the absolute best that money can buy.

Both Pickens and Stillwell asked plenty of questions about the projects, which were all answered by Gundy and Almond. Almond reported that he communicates via e-mail with Pickens on the project three or four times a week. The general reaction was that all four projects were proceeding well. One question that Pickens repeatedly asked Gundy was what the players though of the various project.

The group, minus Almond, left shortly after the tour to fly to Pickens' ranch in the Texas panhandle. The rest of the football staff was traveling to the same destination by car where the staff will continue meeting the rest of the week to make summer and preseason plans, discuss recruiting situations and options. The football staff is expected to return to Stillwater by the end of the week.

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