Mansfield University plans artificial turf, lights project

April 19, 2013  - By

After a 121-year absence, the birthplace of night football will be back in the night football business when Mansfield University, Mansfield, Pa., adds artificial turf and outdoor lighting to Karl Van Norman Field.Mansfield University

“Starting this May, Mansfield University will go back to the future when the university embarks on a major renovation to Karl Van Norman Field,” said Mansfield University Interim President Dr. Allan Golden. “The renovations will provide a significant impact in our efforts to grow the university, while at the same time enhancing our image and competitiveness.”

Karl Van Norman Field, which has been a natural grass facility since it was dedicated in 1964, will be covered with artificial turf manufactured by AstroTurf.  It will host all of Mansfield’s home field hockey and sprint football as well as a number of women’s soccer contests.

The renovated Karl Van Norman Field will also be the first full-size artificial turf athletic facility in Tioga County and can be used as a practice venue for spring sports as well as host other university and community events.

The new lighting system will allow Mansfield to host the first outdoor night athletic contest since the university hosted the world’s first night football game on Sept. 28, 1892. Mansfield played Wyoming Seminary on that date with temporary lighting provided by what would become General Electric. The game was held as part of the Great Mansfield Fair.

The university and the Mansfield community annually celebrate the world’s first night football game with the Fabulous 1890’s Weekend, which includes a reenactment of the original football game played by 1892 rules.

Dr. Golden also announced that the school’s 121-year absence of night football would officially end on Sept. 14, 2013 when Mansfield will host Princeton University, which participated in the first-ever football game in 1869, on the refurbished Karl Van Norman Field.

Construction is scheduled to begin after the university’s commencement ceremony in May and should be completed in August.

The Mountaineer field hockey team will play the first game on the new turf when the Mountaineers host Shippensburg University on Sept. 14.

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