Bowdoin Replacing Turf Field This Summer, Recycling Old Playing Field

BRUNSWICK, Maine - This summer, Bowdoin College is replacing its almost 13-year-old artificial field, and instead of throwing it out the College, is recycling every usable square foot of the synthetic turf.

Nearly 3,000 square feet of the 87,400-square-foot field will be put into use at Bowdoin, in the College’s softball and baseball batting cages and pitching areas. The rest of the grassy blanket will be distributed to such places as golf courses, municipal recreational fields, paintball facilities, dog parks, swimming pools, playgrounds and other destinations.

“Our mission is to see that none of the old turf finds its way to the landfill,” said Dave Wheaton, New England’s director of sales for AstroTurf. His company, which is supplying Bowdoin’s new field, is also recycling the old one. Depending on use, the re-purposed fields could last another five to 20 years.

The average lifespan of a turf field is a decade. Bowdoin acquired its first-ever synthetic field in late 2000, and with good treatment managed to get an additional three years of use from it, according to Michael Veilleux, Bowdoin’s associate director of major maintenance programs. “The original turf was getting worn and the amount of paint reapplied to the lines might have affected the ball roll,” Veilleux said.

The new carpet will be laid down on Ryan Field, behind Farley Field House, by mid-August, Veilleux said. While the field hockey and lacrosse teams are the primary users of the turf, other sports teams use the field for off-season practice.

Nicky Pearson, head coach of the field hockey team, said artificial turf is by far the best playing surface for her sport. When returning Bowdoin players lay eyes on the new field, “they will be delighted,” she said.