“It was time to replace the turf soccer field and sand down and resurface the gym floor,” says Tim Odle, executive director of university services.
In place of the former soccer field is an industry-leading organic field made of crushed coconut shells, cork and dirt—the first of its kind in California.
“It’s one of the premier fields on the west coast,” Odle says.
The athletes love it and are really excited to come play. Other teams are just stunned by it.
The old field’s in-fill was crushed rubber tires mixed with sand, which meant on hot days, the field was forty degrees hotter than the outside temperature. The new field is much cooler, and is an actual living organism that requires brief, daily watering. It drains and self-cleans naturally via bacteria and sunlight, and offers athletes greater speed with no sacrifice in cushion.
“It feels like real grass, and it won’t burn your feet,” says Odle. “It’s the greatest thing in the world. I’ve been on hundreds of fields in my career. This one feels like you’re actually sliding on grass. It’s pure, smooth and fast.”
In the gymnasium, the entire floor was sanded down to the natural surface, re-stained a lighter color and re-sealed. Broken or cracked boards were replaced. The result: essentially a new gym floor with an updated, green color scheme that matches the banners and bleachers.
“Both facilities are really brand new now,” says Odle. “Player safety was the main motivation. Weathered fields and gym floors are harder on athletes.”
The improvements coincided with the move to NCAA DII, but were not required by it. One change made specifically for DII purposes was a brightening of the lights in the gym, because the NCAA has lighting standards for televised games.
The university also added the familiar NCAA logo to the field to denote its status as an NCAA DII member. The track, too, was repainted and refurbished.
CUI is now looking to upgrade other athletics facilities, including for softball and baseball.
“It’s better for the student experience,” says Odle.