A girls' high school ID clinic (inset) conducted July 27 served as a dress rehearsal for the newly-installed Mansfield Outdoor Complex's FieldTurf, which will get regular use when Eastern's intercollegiate fall teams return for pre-season conditioning within the coming week. Field hockey will host Springfield College in the first official game Sept. 1.
A girls' high school ID clinic (inset) conducted July 27 served as a dress rehearsal for the newly-installed Mansfield Outdoor Complex's FieldTurf, which will get regular use when Eastern's intercollegiate fall teams return for pre-season conditioning within the coming week. Field hockey will host Springfield College in the first official game Sept. 1.

MANSFIELD -- The summer installation of the $505,000 FieldTurf surface at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex -- which replaced the initial turf surface installed nearly a decade ago -- is complete and will host its first official intercollegiate activity this weekend when pre-season officially begins when the men's and women's soccer and and volleyball teams return to begin preparation for the 2018 season.

The installation of 97,000 square feet of carpet at a cost of just under $5 a square foot and measuring 80 yards wide x 140 yards long (a significant increase in width from the previous field), took the better part of July under the supervision of Jim Fielding, Eastern's Coordinator of University Construction, Facilities Management and Planning, and an army of certified FieldTurf workers laboring under extreme heat and humidity.

The FieldTurf is thicker and softer than the previous turf, with its polyethylene fibers measuring 1.66 inches in height and containing a rubber granular sand mix. The plastic fibers act as artificial earth which provides shock absorbtion. The FieldTurf has an eight-year warranty and an expected life of a dozen years or longer.

According to Fielding, the installation of FieldTurf brings Eastern in line with current NCAA standards.

The project was completed in time for high school girls from the Foundation Soccer Club to participate in a summer ID clinic on the afternoon of July 27. The turf field has traditionally hosted home matches in the sports of women's soccer, field hockey and men's and women's lacrosse.

The women's soccer team will officially christen the new surface this Saturday, August 18 with an afternoon workout upon its arrival on campus that morning. Beginning Sept. 1, the field hockey program will play all eight of its regular-season matches on the turf, with women's soccer playing two of its eight scheduled regular-season matches on the turf and the remaining six at Nevers Field, the grass field located on the main campus which serves as the home for the men's soccer program.

FieldTurf is the world leader in artificial turf, with more than 20,000 installations worldwide, 6,500 in North America alone. The FieldTurf bid was chosen among three vendors.