Northern Sport Centre gets new turf

Since it opened in 2007, the fieldhouse at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre has endured an incredible amount of wear and tear.

Batting practice for baseball. Penalty kicks and corner kicks in soccer. Football practices and camps.

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More than 20 user groups regularly booked the facility.

As one of the main venues for the 2015 Canada Winter Games, the Northern Sport Centre on UNBC's campus was home to squash, archery and judo.

But now, the fieldhouse is undergoing a facelift in July and August, from the artificial turf to the walls and the underside of the track above and the roof.

"Based on the volume of use and based on the number of hours (of use), (the turf) has reached its normal lifespan," said Northern Sport Centre manager Kevin Nowottnick. "It will look like a brand new space when it's done."

Last week, crews were busy removing old fire retardant from the underside of the track and are replacing it with new retardant as well as covering the walls with fire retardant paint according to the fire code.

After painting, the old turf, with new patches that replaced worn-out spots, will be ripped out beginning Aug. 4.

Nowottnick said it was always in the NSC's long-term plan to eventually replace the synthetic turf and the decision was made last fall to do the renovation this summer. Since 2007, funds were set aside in the facility's budget into a reserve fund. The total cost of the entire renovation is $500,000, which will come directly out of that fund.

Centaur Products, a Canadian company, was awarded the contract to replace the turf. Their work includes a variety of sport and school facilities such as Thunderbird Stadium at UBC and B.C. Place.

"In this reno they'll remove the infill - the rubber pellets and silica sand and then remove the turf," said Nowottnick. "They'll then lay down the new turf and the new pellets that are colourfast so the walls won't be black as well as clothing. It's an environmentally friendly product that's come on board the last few years. It's basically the same turf, but it's the next generation. It's Polytan LigaTurf."

New lines on the turf, primarily for soccer and football, will be permanent and won't fade.

During the renovations, a vapour barrier has been installed separating the running track above the fieldhouse from the track above the gymnasium, allowing users to still use it - albeit half of it. Once work on the turf begins, the entire track will reopen.

The renovation won't have an impact on UNBC's men's and women's soccer teams since they'll resume training outdoors next month.

The new turf installation is set to be complete by Sept. 3, just in time for UNBC's fall orientation.

"We're making really good progress," said Nowottnick. "It will be really exciting for the sport groups and users."

Nowottnick said the plan is to replace the gym floor and track in the future.

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