HURRICANE CAN'T STOP PLAY ON GREENTECH'S MODULAR FIELD
BLACKSBURG, Virginia. (Sept. 29, 2003) ‹ As ESPN broadcasters and 62,000 fans marvelled, Virginia Tech's Hokies and Texas A&M's Aggies did battle on a gridiron that played dry despite one inch an hour of rainfall from Hurricane Isabel on Thursday, Sept. 18.
"I didn't notice one slip out there on the field," recalls Virginia Tech Sports Information Director Dave Smith. "The only misplays in the game were because of the strong winds."
Indeed, Lane Stadium, constructed two years ago with GreenTech's innovative, modular Integrated Turf Management System (ITM), could withstand an astounding 10 inches or more per hour of precipitation, according to Dr. Erik Ervin, head of the turfgrass program at Virginia Tech.
The modular ITM System consists of 4-by-4-foot interlocking trays that are 11 inches deep, filled with root-zone mix and growing real Bermudagrass. The trays sit on an asphalt field which contains 22 vents, draining stormwater into two 48-inch mains. Hooked to the vents is a Soil-Air System - a giant machine that can blow air into the root-zone, or suck water out of the ground.
Anticipating Hurricane Isabel's downpours, Associate Athletic Director/Internal Affairs Tom Gabbard had the grounds crew reduce the moisture content of the modules from its normal 28-29 percent to 4 percent before Isabel arrived.
Hurricane? No problem, Gabbard says, adding, "The bottom of the trays have 3-inch legs, so we could essentially have a 3-inch-deep lake below the entire playing surface and you wouldn't even know it by looking at the field. No one even got muddy in that game."
Virginia Tech was the first college to install a field manufactured the by the Richmond-based GreenTech, and Michigan State University has since followed suit.