Ellison Poulton Stadium will have a new look when the Culver-Stockton College football and men's and women's soccer teams open their 2014 seasons in August.
Culver-Stockton Director of Athletics Greg McVey announced Friday that a synthetic turf surface will be installed at Poulton Stadium for the upcoming fall sports season. The playing surface will be called NXLevel Field at Ellison Poulton Stadium.
The new field is yet another positive step for Culver-Stockton Athletics, and the football and men's and women's soccer programs in particular. The many benefits of the new field include protecting the health of student-athletes, improved playability in inclement weather, annual savings on field maintenance, a fantastic recruiting tool and tremendous revenue-generating opportunities through events such as concerts, high school games and other outside athletic events.
"This project is vitally important to our College," said McVey. "The new playing surface of NXLevel Field at Ellison Poulton Stadium will improve student-athlete safety through innovative technology, help us with recruiting and the overall brand enhancement of our athletics program. It also improves our ability to attract outside events to our campus, generating revenue and improving the on-campus lives of our students and community."
The transformation of Ellison Poulton Stadium is being made possible through a partnership with NXLevel Sportswear, an athletic sportswear company based in Phoenix, Ariz. Terry Ahern, the owner and general managing partner of NXLevel, is a 1980 graduate of Culver-Stockton.
"One of the reasons I was interested in backing this project is that I had seen the changes over the years at the stadium, with the addition of the track and new pressbox," said Ahern. "I felt a new turf field would nearly complete the transformation of the facility.
"It's a major improvement to campus and the stadium, making it look better and adding beauty and color to campus. This addition should help in the recruiting efforts of football, soccer and track, and good recruiting wins ballgames."
In return, Wildcat athletic programs will purchase all of its competition, practice and coaching gear through NXLevel Sportswear for the next 10 years.
Men's and women's soccer teams are scheduled to open their respective home seasons Aug. 27 (women) against Hannibal-LaGrange University, and Aug. 29 (men) against Westminster College. The football team is slated to play their first game on the new turf Sept. 6 against MacMurray College.
"Getting turf is a huge step for Culver-Stockton," said Head Football Coach Jeff Duvendeck. "It shows our commitment to excellence in not only the classroom but also in athletics.
"The addition of turf allows us the opportunity to host camps, all-star games and community events, as well as aiding in the recruiting process", Duvendeck continued. "The football program is extremely excited about the advancement in our facilities."
"The addition of turf is a wonderful upgrade that will allow us to showcase the talent we have on the roster while providing the best possible playing surface for our student athletes," said Tomlinson. "It will enhance things athletically, socially and aesthetically."
"I couldn't be happier with the addition of the turf," said Ordell. "It will bring the men's soccer program to the next level by giving us a quality surface to play on, a recruiting tool we didn't have, and a great location that enhances the atmosphere at our matches."
Ayers Field, the current soccer facility, and the practice football fields will still be used for intramurals, practice and varsity games when the NXLevel Field is unavailable because of other events.
Sports Field Engineering of Westboro, Mass., is the company selected to install the new surface in the stadium. They have recently installed turf surfaces at Springfield (Ill.) High School and Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield, Ill.
According to the company, SFE invented 'sandless' artificial turf and were also the first to integrate vertical-to-horizontal drainage and shock attenuation into a low-cost synthetic aggregate solution. Building on these original technologies, SFE has now evolved the engineering and design of conventional artificial turf to a highly advanced, science-based construct they call, Replicated Grass.™
"I'm very pleased that we are able to improve Ellison Poulton Stadium to enhance both the facility and the playing experience of our student-athlete," said McVey. "The addition of turf at the stadium not only allows that area to become a focal point, but provides us an opportunity to continue to plan, develop and build the necessary facilities for Culver-Stockton to grow."