Construction began Tuesday on Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium, marking the first time in 38 years the field has undergone major renovations.
Built in 1981, the field hasn't seen much change. But for the 2019 soccer seasons, there will be a new playing surface, an improved drainage system and new Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass.
Renovations to the playing surface began with removing the top three inches of the existing field. After that, a new drainage system was installed closer to the field's surface to improve on the old system.
The field was then capped with a two-inch sandcap and graded to have just short of a one-percent slope. These measures, along with the new drainage system, have helped to create as much of a "rain proof" field as possible.
After all the underground improvements, the field was sprigged with Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass, which is the latest Bermudagrass released by Oklahoma State University. Armstrong Stadium will be one of the first sports fields in the nation to feature the Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass, which is designed to withstand the cold winters in the Midwest.
The north grandstand at Bill Armstrong Stadium will also be replaced. The existing grandstand facility, which opened in 1983, will be demolished and replaced by a two-story structure. The facility will have locker rooms, a lobby, a team room, a warm up room, coaches offices, bicycle support space, conference rooms and public restrooms.
Construction on the $7 million project also began this summer and will be completed by June 2020.
"Yeagley Field has seen very little in the way of renovation work since it was initially installed in 1981," IU's sports turf manager Jeremy Tredway said in an IU athletics press release. "This is, safe to say, the most extensive work ever done to the field, and we believe that it will now become one of the premier playing surfaces not only in the Midwest, but the country."
A premier playing surface for one of the premier programs in the country.
The IU men's soccer team has eight national championships with the most recent coming in 2012. The Hoosiers have advanced to the College Cup the past two seasons, and despite not winning the national title, they have created historic records.
After last season, IU became the only school to go a perfect 8-0 in Big Ten Conference play, winning the Big Ten regular season title and Big Ten Tournament title. The team reached the NCAA Tournament for a 32nd-straight year and 43rd time in program history, which is an NCAA record. IU also advanced to its 20th College Cup, another NCAA record.
"This fall when we kick off at Jerry Yeagley Field, we will be competing on the finest playing surface in college soccer," men's soccer Head Coach Todd Yeagley said in the release. "I would like to thank Jeremy Tredway for his leadership on this project, as well as the team from Crider and Crider for their generous gift."
Even though the women's soccer team hasn't made the Big Ten Tournament since 2016 and NCAA Tournament since 2013, the program is under new direction this year with first-year Head Coach Erwin van Bennekom.
The team's schedule is tougher to better prepare it for the conference play, and with a new field and coaching staff, van Bennekom said earlier this summer he looks to change the program's mentality.
"The improvements to the playing surface at Bill Armstrong Stadium are incredibly exciting," van Bennekom said. "Along with the increased drainage, the new Bermudagrass will be some of the finest in the nation, and we are grateful to Jeremy Tredway and his staff for his hard work implementing the changes. This will make the experience for our student-athletes that much better, and we are looking forward to competing on it."
The men's team will kick off the season Aug. 30 against the University of Pittsburgh in Bloomington, and the women play Aug. 22 against the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The women's first home game will be Aug. 25 against University of Illinois at Chicago.