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Arkansas to play on new FieldTurf surface in '06

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- When The Arkansas Razorbacks take the field at War Memorial Stadium on Oct. 28 against Louisiana-Monroe for a nationally televised game, the artificial turf should gleam greenly for the cameras -- and the yardage markers should be bright white -- because the turf will be only a few months old.

Stadium officials say they'll pay $400,000 to install a new turf surface in the stadium over the summer.

The new surface is needed because the current turf -- installed
in 2002 -- is losing the white fibers that make up the markings for
sidelines, end zones and yardage lines every five yards.

"The whites just disappearing," stadium manager Charlie
Staggs said. "It's just real dingy looking."

When it was installed just four years ago, the AstroPlay turf
was expected to last for years. But Jeff Bresee, a Texas-based turf
engineer who consulted with the commission on its new surface, said
the sports industry jumped on the AstroPlay bandwagon perhaps a bit
too fast and hard.

War Memorial Stadium Commission chairman Gary Smith says the new
turf is expected to last 10 to 12 years.

The new surface is to be installed by Montreal-based FieldTurf International Inc. Work should begin as early as Monday, and the commission expects it to be completed at least two weeks before the stadium's first football game of the season, an Aug. 29 matchup between Benton and Bryant high schools.