MSU hires construction firm for stadium turfgrass project

Contact: Terry Denbow, Vice President for University Relations, (517) 355-2262,

Oct 12, 2001

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Plans to replace the artificial turf at Michigan State University's Spartan Stadium with natural grass has moved into its next phase with the hiring of a construction firm that will prepare the stadium for installation of the real grass.

At its Oct. 12 meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees approved the hiring of the Haussman Construction Co. of Lansing. The firm will be responsible for preparing the field for the new grass, as well as pavement installation, utility relocation and services, the irrigation system, and other related work.

With a bid of $649,832, Haussman submitted the lowest bid on the project, out-bidding six other construction companies.

Total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $2 million, said Greg Ianni, MSU's associate director of intercollegiate athletics. It's anticipated that bids for the balance of the construction work will be solicited and received in January 2002.

"We're excited that after 32 years Spartan Stadium will return to a natural grass playing field," Ianni said. "The athletic staff, the student-athletes and the entire university community are looking forward to this change."

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2002, with completion expected in time for the start of the 2002 football season. The first home game of the season is Aug. 31 against Eastern Michigan University.

The new turf is being grown at the Hancock Turfgrass Center, located south of the MSU campus. Under the watchful eye of John "Trey" Rogers, professor of crop and soil sciences, the new turf is a combination of nine varieties of Kentucky bluegrass.

"On a typical lawn," he said, "you might have two different varieties."

Rogers said the seeds were planted last May and are doing very well.

"It even made it through one of the hotter summers we've had in a while," he said. "I'm very impressed with how it did. As of right now, we're a little ahead of schedule."

The grass is being grown in 4,800 individual plastic modules, which will be loaded onto trucks and transported to Spartan Stadium. A similar system was used to place natural turf in the Pontiac Silverdome during the World Cup Soccer Championships in 1994.