Cope Stadium on the campus of Nebraska-Kearney will have a new look for the upcoming football season. Installation is underway for a new artificial playing surface at a cost of more than 460,000 dollars.
“We are more than halfway through the overall project right now”, said UNK athletic director Paul Plinske. “We anticipate the project being done the last week of July.”
The stadium is home to Loper football and soccer teams but also hosts the Shrine Bowl, the Nebraska six-man state championship game as well home games for the Kearney High School Bearcats.
UNK has played on turf since 2004, when the stadium transitioned away from grass. The life expectancy of artificial turf is eight to 10 years. After 13 seasons, Plinske said, the surface has deteriorated to where it was no longer performing to industry expectations.
“The surface exceeded expectancy by about three to four years. It is evident that turf firmness and traction are not up to standards.”
The new surface will debut on August 31 when the Lopers open the football season by hosting Missouri Western.
“The product will be first class”, added Plinske. “Coming from FieldTurf it is called Classic HD. It is going to be highly durable and we hope it is used for another 10 to 15 years.”