Stankowski Field set to be renovated this summer

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – A couple MU recreation facilities will be undergoing makeovers this summer. Stankowski Field is scheduled to be renovated, and the Jungle Gym inside the MU Student Recreation Complex will be resurfaced.

Stankowski Field is scheduled to be shut down from May 18 until July 13 to install a new surface, said Diane Dahlmann, director of MU recreation services and facilities. She said after a bidding process was completed in March, the Mondo Turf company was hired to replace the existing surface with Ecofill Star Infill turf.

“It’s the newest thing on the market,” Dahlmann said.

According to Mondo’s Web site, Ecofill Star Infill is an eco-friendly turf that has no carcinogenic substances. Dahlmann said the surface is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for the athletes who use it too. It drains better than the turf that is currently on Stankowski, and it stays much cooler when temperatures rise.

Dahlmann said she and other recreation officials visited two high schools and two universities that use the same turf, including Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and that it held up beautifully under adverse conditions. It drained properly when it rained and stayed cool in the heat.

The field and track at Stankowski will both be unavailable during renovation. But, Dahlmann said, the track will be used only as an area to hold equipment and will not be undergoing any makeover.

“The track should be fine for another eight years,” she said.

Dahlmann said she and other officials have had to tell various cheer camps they will not be able to use the field this summer, but no other major problems have arisen. The people the renovation will inconvenience most are those who use the track over the summer, including MU students who stay here in the summer.

“One of my favorite things to do in spring is to run on Stankowski and I was looking forward to that in June,” MU junior Stacy Broner said. “It’s not the same to run inside because when the weather is nice, you want to be outside.”

But as long as they get a new field, some students are willing to be without Stankowski for a couple months.

“If they actually put turf in that’s good, then I don’t care,” MU junior Afshin Hatami said, when asked if he was upset about Stankowski being closed for most of summer. “It’s for the greater good. There are plenty of other parks in Columbia.”

The Jungle Gym will be unavailable from May 17 until June 3 to move the cardio equipment so the hardwood floor underneath can be ripped up, sanded down and resurfaced.

During that time, Tiger X classes will be offered for free to compensate for the unavailability of the Jungle Gym, Dahlmann said. The Quiet Room and Pump Room will also remain open.

Dahlmann said in January the renovation would cost $1.5 million and she confirmed that price has not changed and will definitely not exceed that mark. While the University of Missouri System under a hiring freeze, Dahlman said the money for the renovation was budgeted for a long time ago.

“The project is being paid for by student recreation activities fee dollars through a program that we put into place in 1998,” she said. “We made sure the dollars for the resurfacing accumulated over 10 years.”

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