The next time the UCLA football team practices on campus, the practice facility will have new playing surfaces.
Construction crews began work Monday on an $800,000 project to replace the grass surface and the maligned artificial turf surface at Spaulding Field. The project is expected to be completed well before the team returns from training camp at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 17.
The new artificial turf field will be made of AstroTurf Game Day 3D Extreme, a surface designed to help eliminate depressions and uneven areas that some players and coaches have blamed for several injuries since the school installed the old turf in 2006.
Bill Snyder Family Stadium at Kansas State, the Citrus Bowl in Florida and the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, home of the Rams, use a turf similar to the one UCLA is installing at Spaulding.
The natural grass surface will get new turf designed to better withstand the rigors of daily practice. Players and coaches have complained that the former grass was too soft and gave way too easily when making cuts.
The configuration of the practice facility will remain the same with the artificial turf field running along the north side of Spaulding Field (next to Pauley Pavilion) and the grass field parallel to it on the south side. Both fields will remain 80 yards long.
The Spaulding project joins a $136-million renovation at Pauley Pavilion and a $175-million renovation at the Rose Bowl to complete a trifecta of athletics facilities overhauls for UCLA. Pauley Pavilion is on schedule to open in time for UCLA's season-opening game against Indiana State. The Rose Bowl project is expected to last through 2013 and is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014 Rose Bowl game.