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Harvard Upgrades Stadium Field

Nine years after Harvard installed its first FieldTurf surface in Harvard Stadium, work has begun on a complete resurfacing of the field.

The project, which will bring hybrid turf technology to the stadium—including a softer underlayer to reduce the likelihood of concussions—began on April 6 and is set to conclude by June 8. The project will also install new goalposts and overhaul electrical work on the perimeter of the field, according to Timothy P. Troville, associate director of athletics.

Harvard Stadium
Harvard Stadium.

The new artificial turf surface will allow for increased performance and durability, according to Troville. The turf that Harvard is currently installing on the field combines two systems, monofilament fibers and slit-film fibers, Troville said.

“The monofilament systems most closely replicate the grass blade, but they are not able to hold up to the rigors of scheduling,” Troville said. “The slit-film system is very durable and can handle hours and hours of use, but it lacks on the performance side in some ways. The combination of the two will give us the performance we’re looking for.”

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Troville added that the demands Harvard’s club and varsity teams place on the field require such durable turf. In contrast to fields at competing athletic programs—which may not allow intramural or club sports to share varsity fields—Harvard Stadium sees usage rates much higher than the “25 percent usage” he said monofilament systems are usually capable of sustaining.

The field improvements go beyond new turf. Josh Atkinson, a landscape architect from one of two architectural firms Harvard is contracting for the project, added that beneath the turf his firm is installing an innovative sublayer. This “styrofoam-like” surface, about an inch thick, is intended to reduce blunt force head trauma associated with concussions and other injuries.

This new layer, or “underlayment,” according to Atkinson, has become increasingly popular at collegiate and professional athletic facilities as information about the danger of concussions continues to enter the public eye.

Additionally, Atkinson said Harvard plans to install new football goalposts that meet NFL standards of a crossbar that is 10 feet above the ground. It will have uprights that extend 45 feet high, which is higher than the NCAA minimum.

Kenny R. Smart ’18, a kicker for the football team, expressed excitement about the upcoming changes.

“The new turf will help with kicking consistency because the spot of the hold will always be level,” he said. “That and the new goalposts are exciting for me.”

—Staff writer Nathan P. Press can be reached at nathan.press@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer  Samuel E. Stone can be reached at samuel.stone@thecrimson.com.

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