TD Waterhouse field all set for resurfacing

RYAN PYETTE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

The field at TD Waterhouse Stadium begins its much-needed facelift today.

Workers start the meticulous process of peeling away the seven-year-old Astro Turf surface and shipping it off to its new home at a paintball facility in Alberta.

The replacement -- a new infill product similar to the popular and user-friendly Field Turf found at several facilities in North America -- is already at Western and ready for installation. But that could take the crew at Stoney Creek-based I.C. Improvements a while because the old carpet likely won't go quickly or quietly.

"Ideally, the Astro Turf could just be peeled back and shipped out and we could start laying the new stuff but we're expecting there will need to be some time for repairs," stadium manager Frank Erle said.

"The old turf was originally glued to the rubber underpad (e-layer) and I know at centre field, there was a lot more glue used in that area. In the past, turf like this was put on top of asphalt or gravel.

"So how much time will that take? That's the big question and we're about to find out."

Any delays aren't expected to push back the facility's drop-dead date to resume field use on Sept. 3 when the Western football team opens its 2007 regular season against the Queen's Golden Gaels.

"That's why we didn't schedule any events on the field until mid-August -- just in case," Erle said. "We went with what we though would be a conservative estimate but you never know what can happen. If everything works and it gets in early, we could hold some London Falcons playoff games or the Forest City Thunderbirds here on the new stuff. We'd like to have it done for Western football camp. But the Western opener is the one thing that can't be moved someplace else."

The new surface will feature a larger Western logo at centre field and two purple end-zones with white lettering featuring the word "Western" in the north end and "Mustangs" at the south. The price for the removal and installation isn't complete but is expected to be less than $1 million and paid for entirely by Western funds.

"We have talked to the soccer groups in the community and monitored what FIFA (soccer's governing body) has been doing and what sort of surfaces they approve," Earle said. "This should increase our soccer traffic at the stadium. We had a turf committee (including Western soccer coach Rock Bassaco and football coach Greg Marshall) which visited some stadiums in Toronto to look at the fields there. The Western football team had played on a surface like this at (Scarborough's) Birchmount Stadium and they really liked it."


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