Sep 29

Hunter Stadium’s turf $1.25 million upgrade has tight time frame

Monday 29 September 2014 10:42am

By MICHAEL McGOWAN

Newcastle Herald

Sept. 10, 2014, 7:48 p.m.

 

THE race is on to give Hunter Stadium's turf a $1.25 million upgrade in time for next January's Asian Cup and officials have wasted no time ripping up the ground's decades-old surface.

Already most of the old grass is gone, with excavators working fast to remove a top layer that stadium general manager Bicci Henderson believes hasn't had a major upgrade in 15 years.

Mr Henderson said it was exciting to see the work begin after the criticism that the venue had received in the past.

"We have one of the best-equipped venues here in the country, and this is the piece that really needed to go along with it," he said.

"This is a professional sporting ground, it deserves a professional pitch."

Work crews only have an eight-week schedule to get the 11,000-square-metre surface complete, and weren't able to start until the Newcastle Knights played their last match of the season on the ground on Sunday.

The new turf is being grown on a farm in western Sydney, and will be trucked in once the ground is prepared.

In the meantime, there's plenty to be done - plans to overhaul the ground's drainage have been made harder because there were no complete maps of where drainage was installed in the early 1990s.

"Like a lot of things from that era, it was done with an 'it'll be right' attitude," Mr Henderson said.

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