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Reclaiming familiar turf

While freshman Lisa Piccinini lays out, reading on the emerald green turf that now covers LaPlata Beach, it’s hard to imagine that only a few weeks ago the area was nothing more than a mound of dirt.

After two months of construction and $600,000, the “beach” reopened to eager North Campus residents earlier this month. The field features synthetic grass and a volleyball court, a far cry from the dirt and rocks that used to cover the landscape less than a year ago.

Piccinini, a letters and sciences major, said she was skeptical when she first heard of plans to use artificial turf to cover the field, but was pleased with the result.

Planning for the project began last year after the bare field became impossible to maintain and heavy traffic made grass near impossible to grow. Inclement weather would leave the field a sloppy mess that made event planning a guessing game. Now, the once-barren landscape is surrounded by fresh mulch and newly planted trees and the basketball courts have been repaved. There is also a new set of concrete steps leading from the sidewalk to the field.

“It’s much nicer than last year,” said junior John DiFato, a secondary education and history major. “And when you get tackled playing football you don’t get ripped to shreds by dirt and rocks.”

While throwing a Frisbee around with his friends, sophomore Dan Gerber said he’s happy with the renovations. “I think we’ll get more quality use out of it,” he said, adding that it will be easier not having to run around on dirt and rocks. “Girls like to come out here in the sun and now they won’t have to lay in the mud.”

With rain no longer a factor in the usage of the field, it is expected that the field will see a great increase in use. This Saturday, the Zeta Psi Fraternity is getting first dibs at using the newly renovated area by holding a “Carnival for a Cure,” which will feature live music and various games like a dunking booth.

“It’s nice that you can lay around or study or watch people without getting muddy or having bugs crawl all over you,” Piccinini said. “Maybe we should just Astroturf the whole campus and forgo grass all together.”

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