The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 8, 2012

Projects at PSU football stadium, basketball arena near completion

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The playing surface at Carnie Smith Stadium/Brandenburg Field has a new look.

John Lance Arena is about to have a drastically new look.

Two major summer projects are nearing completion at Pittsburg State University and the finished results will be on full display this fall.

Carnie Smith Stadium

Crews finished late last month installing the new MondoTurf on Brandenburg Field.

The new surface is brighter and more vibrant that the 10-year-old FieldTurf that was removed beginning in June.

“It was just a timing thing. It was time to replace it,” Pittsburg State athletic director Jim Johnson said. “We played 10 seasons on the old surface and the technology that was available in 2002, it was great ... but we were starting to see some wear and tear and we were starting to see the migration of the infill. It was washing to the sidelines. It was just to the end of its lifespan.”

The surface also sports a new color scheme. In addition to a larger split-face Gorilla logo at midfield, the end zones feature a black background with bright red lettering outlined in yellow.

“The players really like it,” Johnson said. “They’re excited about playing on it and that’s what is important.”

John Lance Arena

The new turf will likely get most of the attention during the upcoming fall season. But a larger, more-involved athletic project is nearing completion at John Lance Arena.

New seating has been installed and 31,500 square feet of new hardwood flooring now covers the entire surface of the arena, all part of what the athletics department is calling Phase I of the arena’s renovations. Phase I will be completed before volleyball season begins.

The new floor — which Johnson said will be the same as that in Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse — received a final sanding on Monday and the finish was set to be applied on Tuesday with the new paint scheme coming after that.

“This is a very nice surface we’re putting down,” Johnson said. “It’s the same company that they used for Allen Fieldhouse and we’ll have the same flooring and sub-flooring under the playing surface that they use in Lawrence.”

The seating has been reduced in the spacious arena with new chair-back seats on the north and south sides that mirror those on the second level. The seats on the east baseline will be used only when necessary and new portable seating will be put on the west baseline for the student section.

“More compact, fewer seats, more comfort,” Johnson said. “More intimate is a great way to explain it. It will be a better game environment. We’ll have the same number of people, but it a different setting that really creates an intimate, louder, better game environment.

“There are fewer seats, but not fewer than what our crowds are. We had a lot of seats in this building. We’d have games where half of these seats would be empty, well that’s because we had so many seats in here.”

The arena’s renovations will eventually include new offices on the second level and new indoor football and track facility.

“We have a stadium that we think, and a lot of people think, is the best football environment and facility in Division II in a lot of ways,” Johnson said. “That’s a great blueprint that we can use and say ‘Look what was created over there. Now its time to focus some attention on this building and the event center and it doesn’t even stop there.’ ”