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New Acadia Sports Field Sprouts from Old Tires, Sneakers

WOLFVILLE — A newly modernized Raymond Field was officially opened on the Acadia University campus Saturday during convocation and homecoming celebrations.

Friends and alumni supporters contributed more than $1.6 million toward Phase 1 of a $4-million capital campaign.

A premium artificial playing surface has replaced Acadia’s natural grass field. The turf consists of polyethylene fibres about six centimetres tall to give the surface a grasslike feel.

The surface is relatively maintenance free, requiring only an occasional "combing" to keep it groomed.

"Raymond Field is greener in more ways than one and that is in keeping with Acadia’s strategic plan to reduce our ecological footprint," Acadia president Gail Dinter-Gottlieb said in a release Saturday.

She said thousands of used tires and sneakers were diverted from landfills for use on the field, which requires no watering or fertilization.

The four-lane gravel running track has been expanded to eight lanes and resurfaced to provide a cushioned all-weather track that puts less wear and tear on athletes’ legs.

New fencing and lighting were also installed. The substantial upgrades meet national standards and will allow Acadia to host more outdoor sports and events.

"Acadia University has the best university field in all of Canada," said John Huard Sr. "This is the most advanced field turf available and it will provide a premium surface for athletes."

Mr. Huard chairs a committee comprising Acadia football alumni working to raise $4 million to boost the varsity sport and facilities through its Move the Chains committee. To date, it has raised nearly $2.8 million and plans to raise the remainder by next year.

As CEO of Northeast Turf, Mr. Huard provided the lead gift to Acadia — installation of the artificial turf, the same playing surface used at home by the New England Patriots.

Mr. Huard is a former Acadia head football coach who led the Axemen to their last national championships in 1979 and ’81. Prior to arriving at Acadia, he was an all-American at the University of Maine and played for the Denver Broncos in the 1960s.

Ms. Dinter-Gottlieb said the new field will help promote healthy and active living and is "also an opportunity for Acadia’s coaches to recruit the best student athletes to our campus."

The following material was derived from foreign sources and is only available in its original language.