More money leftover for other programs

By Gus Bode

Recycling benefits not only the environment, but also SIU with a grant that leaves the Athletic Department with 200,000 reasons to

SIU qualified for a state grant that will help defray the cost of installing new Astroturf at McAndrew Stadium and free up money for other athletic projects throughout campus.

The new AstroPlay turf costs $600,000 to install, but SIU opted to use recycled turf materials that cut $200,000 off the original price.


The material rests between the concrete and the surface of the turf and is made from recycled rubber tires. The state awards grants to schools that use recycled materials, and SIU was fortunate to receive the grant in such a tight budget year.

“We are very happy to receive this grant from the state,” said SIU Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk. “We are also happy to contribute to environmental causes.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs is the state office that issues the grant. It was a six-month process to get the grant application approved.

Southwest Recreation, a firm located in Texas, took on the project of installing the new turf.

The new style of turf absorbs large amounts of water and is softer than traditional Astroturf.

“The new turf minimizes injuries and is better on your knees,” said SIU running back Muhammad Abdulqaadir.

Kowalczyk said the Athletic Department are pleased with the quality of the new playing surface.


The money saved from the grant will possibly be used to help fund the construction of the new softball stadium.

The SIU football program has much to look forward to this season, with new lights for night games and new locker room facilities, and the team looks to be developing into a first-class program.

“The new turf is going to look good under the new lights,” Kowalczyk said.

Reporter Jack Piatt can be reached at [email protected]