Saturday, September 29, 2007

Columbia installing Fieldturf for 2008 season

NEW YORK – The series of recent upgrades to Columbia’s baseball facilities continues this fall, when Columbia Athletics will install a state-of-the-art artificial surface at Andy Coakley Field. The surface will allow the team to practice at its home venue earlier in the year.

On September 4, installation of the FieldTurf™ infill system will begin. It is the same surface used at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and Columbia Soccer Stadium. Renovation of the field will be completed in November, allowing the field to set during the winter months.

“We are delighted to embark on this project to support our varsity baseball program,” says Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. “This will be an outstanding field that illustrates our commitment to Columbia Baseball, as we continue to strive for quality and excellence in all that we do. We are dedicated to providing the best experience for our student-athletes, and that commitment includes providing the best possible facilities.”

The surface will be a hybrid fiber, rubber and sand infill blend designed to have a more consistent feel. It will cover both the infield and outfield, with the only dirt covering the mound and home plate. The surface will be more resilient than the current grass field, and will allow the team more practice opportunities.

The resurfacing of the playing surface at Andy Coakley Field has been made possible through a combination of charitable gifts from interested donors, friends and alumni.

"The ‘new’ Andy Coakley Field is going to help take Columbia Baseball to a new level,” says Brett Boretti, head coach of baseball. “It will allow us to practice and play outdoors in February, earlier than ever before.”

These improvements come just months after Andy Coakley Field received major upgrades that included the installation of 250 chairback seats, a press box, an extended major league-style backdrop behind home plate and an improved sound system.

A modern batting cage was installed in left field, bullpens were reconfigured, and a strengthened retaining wall was put in place along the right field line.

"With the installation of the FieldTurf, Andy Coakley Field will also be one of the best baseball facilities in the league,” Boretti states. “We are excited and looking forward to showing our recruits and our team our new facility."

“By installing a state-of-the-art surface at Andy Coakley Field, we are continuing consistent and significant improvement of this facility, which ranks it among the best baseball venues in the Ivy League,” adds Dr. Murphy.

The three FieldTurf facilities at Baker Field Athletics Complex – Columbia Soccer Stadium and Lawrence A. Wien Stadium are the other two – plus the Desso Sportilux SV 37 “water-based” polypropylene turf for field hockey, makes the entire complex versatile and durable for year-round and multiple-team use.

While the FieldTurf is being installed at Andy Coakley Field, the baseball team will use an alternate site for fall practices in preparation for the 2008 season.

The installation follows a season in which Columbia Baseball posted its most wins since 2003.

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