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The Virginian - Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)
Norfolk State's Dick Price Stadium is getting a makeover.
The field's natural grass surface will be replaced with artificial turf, the university announced last week. The new field is expected to be ready before the Spartans' football season begins Sept. 1 against Virginia State.
"I think it's exciting," football coach Latrell Scott said. "You have to thank our president and our administration for making it happen."
The Spartans, who have played on grass since the stadium opened in 1997, will join nearly every other Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team with a turf field. Florida A&M also is transitioning this summer to turf, leaving North Carolina A&T as the last program with a grass surface.
But the move, which comes with a $1.38 million price tag paid through institutional funding, isn't solely football related.
"It opens our campus up," Scott said. "It's beneficial to our band, beneficial to our students. It's not just a football thing."
The move is a long-term savings over the maintenance cost of a grass surface, assistant athletic director Matt Michalec said.
It also prevents frequent practice cancellations because of rain.
"We get a lot of rain in Norfolk that's kept us off the practice field some days," Scott said. "Coach (Bobby) Wilder has been tremendous in letting us practice at Old Dominion when we had to."
While the turf surface generally permits faster play, Scott doesn't expect to change the team's strategy.
"It's a surface we play on pretty much everywhere else in the conference," he said. "So you don't change the way you play."
But Scott, who was involved with the collaborative discussions with athletic director Marty L. Miller to replace the surface, said it does change the exposure NSU can receive.
"I really want to push the point that it'll continue to bring more people to our campus for different events and how beneficial it is for the school," Scott said.
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