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Eagles thinking their non-traditional gray turf may start a trend statewide

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Nixa Athletic Director Brandon Clark said the sentiment among the school’s administration, coaches, board members and sponsors was to dare to be different in regard to planning earlier this year for Eagles Stadium’s new turf.

Instead of opting for the customary route and going green, Nixa chose to be bold and enhance the turf with its school colors of gray and red, particularly gray.

“We were looking at creating something that (would) be unique and something different, compared to any school in the state,” Clark said. “We brought in our coaches and directors who will be using the field and got their feedback on a variety of options for a non-traditional turf. Our school board and sponsors were also involved and gave us insight into what they would like to see.”

Vision became reality late last month, as the new turf was installed. The great majority of the turf is gray, with the red and white Eagles logo dominant at mid-field and both end zones are red.

“Now, that it is in place, I cannot be more proud of how it turned out,” Clark said.

Clark believes more schools will begin to integrate their school colors upon installing new turf in the future.

“A non-traditional field is definitely unique in Missouri,” Clark said. “But I believe it will be a growing trend over the next 10 years. Researching turf fields, we were seeing more and more schools — high schools and colleges around the country — move toward non-traditional color options.”

Boise State’s blue ‘Smurf Turf’ has been the most notable non-traditional color scheme since it was unveiled in 1986. Central Arkansas unveiled a purple and gray striped turf in 2011. 

Nixa’s turf was installed by Sprinturf, which also installed Ozark’s turf earlier this summer.

Nixa did not have shock pads installed under the turf, as Ozark did.

“We looked into a shock pad, but had mixed reviews on the effectiveness and overall effects on the performance of the field,” Clark said. “Most schools install shock pads to try and reduce the GMAX force that compacted turf fields experience over time.  We have utilized a service over the last eight years that works on our turf three times a year, where they un-compact the rubber and sand, add rubber as needed and test the GMAX on the field. By using this service, it has kept our GMAX number at a very low rate, where a shock pad would not necessarily be needed.”

Clark is hopeful this turf will remain in play long enough that current first-graders may play on it their senior year.

“The main thing that we invested in was the highest quality turf possible offered by Sprinturf,” he said. “Our field is constantly used, six to seven days a week. We wanted something that would be durable over the next 10-12 years.”

Eagles Stadium’s facelift, which began two years ago with the installation of new bleachers, will continue leading up to Nixa’s home debut Sept. 2 versus Neosho. A video board will be installed this month.

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