ASHLAND, Ore. — Southern Oregon University is installing a new artificial turf football field, which is expected to save more than one million gallons of water per year.
Work began on the new field last Thursday, and the new turf is expected to be finished by September.
“Things are starting to dry out, our climate is starting to get a little drier,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU Landscape Supervisor. “So we’ve started being progressive about trying to take some immediate actions, so that when things like this happen, when we get this really low snowpack year, we’re actually ahead of the game.”
It’s part of a bigger effort to save water across campus. Last year, SOU put in a new irrigation system that senses moisture and temperature changes, and adjusts sprinkler run times to reduce water use. Workers also put in more than 94,000 cubic feet of bark mulch, which helps plants retain water.
Nearly 99 percent of the campus is irrigated using water from the Talent Irrigation District. Just a small area of the campus had previously used water from the city of Ashland, but Oxendine said that area will now be hand-watered.