Field Turf or natural grass at Notre Dame Stadium? Decision Soon

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick says Notre Dame will decide in the next two months whether it will go with Field Turf at Notre Dame Stadium or stick with natural grass.

No matter the decision, Notre Dame Stadium will either feature Field Turf or a completely new natural grass surface for the start of the 2014 season, Swarbrick says.

Swarbrick says if the Irish stick with natural grass, they will completely overhaul the system not just replace the first six inches of sod as they have done recently. The Irish AD says staying with natural grass would result in Notre Dame uprooting the entire surface and starting over from the drainage system up.

"One of the reasons it's been so bad, we take off one layer of sod and put down another layer of sod," Swarbrick said. "We haven't addressed the real issues we have to address."

He says the cost for a hybrid system like the Packers have is too much to explore but the costs of going with field turf or overhauling the natural grass will be about the same.

The big issue remains time as the project for overhauling for natural grass will take considerable work. Complicating matters is that Notre Dame plans to hold Commencement in the Stadium in May.

Swarbrick says the surface debate is a separate one from the Notre Dame Stadium renovations plans, which are calling for a complete redesign to make the Stadium the central hub of the university.

Swarbrick said he was very pleased with the progress that's being made and if they receive the go ahead for the Stadium renovations, construction would begin after the 2014 season and take two additional years to complete.

"You don't get a lot of opportunities to do something like this at a university where you have a project that touches almost every element of it," Swarbrick explained. "So you've got the academic units who will be in the building, very engaged, the academy who is playing a big role, student affairs, rec sports, digital media, athletics, the administration. All of these functions will be incorporated in these buildings as currently conceived. This has been really fun and exhilarating for everybody involved."

The possibility of a jumbotron being added are a part of the stadium renovations discussion.


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