More than half of the Beaver Stadium turf was replaced after Happy Valley Jam in July, but according to Penn State officials, the field is ready for the start of the football season next week.
Leading up to the first-ever concert held at Beaver Stadium, Herb Combs, assistant athletic director for outdoor athletic facilities, said he consulted with the grounds crews from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to understand how they prepare for concert events.
“In this industry, those types of activities are desired and happen, and it’s our responsibility and role to be prepared,” Combs said. “There was an agronomic plan that went into place with certain fungicides and certain plant growth regulators to try and protect the grass, as much as possible, from a chemical control perspective.”
But because part of the field was covered by a floor for three days and the volume of equipment traffic during the construction and tear down of the stage, 40,000 square feet or almost 70 percent of the playing surface was removed and replaced, Combs said.
During the week following the concert, work began on the field. The damaged surface was stripped, the soil was prepared and new sod was installed. The work took about two weeks, Combs said.
The sod used was 1 3/4 inch thick and the grass is Kentucky bluegrass. The turf came from Tuckahoe Turf Farm in Hammonton, N.J. In 2015, the company delivered the same product to the stadium for a full replacement of the field. The thick sod is part of Tuckahoe’s “game day” line, which is used for professional athletic field applications and can be used a few days after installation.
The sod cost Penn State about $34,000, which included delivery to the stadium, according to a Tuckahoe representative.
Cool temperatures and “timely rain” led to ideal conditions after installation, Combs said, which helped the surface to establish leading up to the start of the season when the Nittany Lions host the Akron Zips on Sept. 2.
“It was a challenge that we were willing to step up and accept and based upon the cooperation of Mother Nature, we are well-prepared for the season,” Combs said. “We feel pretty confident that our field conditions will be the same as we always provide.”