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Turf project nears completion; stadium to re-open to public soon

Courtesy of PSU Marketing and Communication department

A project to replace the turf field at Pittsburg State University’s Carnie Smith Stadium will wrap up soon and the stadium will re-open to the public. 

The project, which began on June 22, is being funded by Freeman Health System of Joplin, Missouri. 

“This project is long-planned, given the lifetime of synthetic fields,” said Jim Johnson, director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Pittsburg State University. “We’ve had this work on the horizon for some time, so we’re excited to see it come to fruition.” 

The project is led by Mammoth Sports Construction, a company based in Meriden, Kansas. The company’s recent projects include the turf at Hutchinson Field in Pittsburg, the football field at Girard (Kan.) High School, and Wagner Field in Bill Snyder Stadium at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. The field going in at Pitt State is an elite FieldTurf system also used by the Universities of Oregon and Alabama.  

The project is led by Joe Kerr, a 1998 graduate of PSU’s School of Construction. 

“We’re excited to be part of the future of such an iconic stadium and NCAA Division II football tradition, and excited that Joe is leading the way,” said Brian Morris, vice president of operations for Mammoth. “We’re proud of the footprint we have in our home state of Kansas.” 

Keeping the business in Kansas was an important part of the decision-making process, Johnson said. 

“We are fortunate to have companies like Mammoth in Kansas, and that we can call upon them for complex projects like this one,” said Johnson. “Keeping our business close to home has many benefits.” 

The current turf was installed in the summer of 2012 and was nearing the end of its life from a safety standpoint. 

“It becomes a safety issue for our student-athletes. One of the primary benefits of a synthetic surface is to help prevent concussions and other injuries at higher rates than what can occur on grass fields,” said Johnson. “But that advantage degrades over time, so replacement is necessary to protect our student-athletes and others who use our field.” 

Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker said it’s important to invest in the infrastructure that fuels the future. 

“Institutions like Pittsburg State University are critical in producing the graduates needed by Freeman Health Systems and other industries, and football is an important part of the experience at Pitt State,” Baker said. “We appreciate PSU’s recruiting power and are aware of the health and safety benefits of a new field, so we are proud to support it.”   

The project is wrapping up now, and the stadium will reopen to the public by the end of the month. 

“This project is the latest example of our long-standing relationship and value exchange with Freeman Health System,” said Steve Scott, president of Pittsburg State University. “They’ve committed to the success of our programs across our campus, and we’ve committed to producing graduates that go right to work in the healthcare industry.” 

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