New Jones Field Turf Celebrated

September 1, 2016

When Hornet football takes the field in Welch Stadium this season, the team will play on brand new, state-of-the-art artificial football turf after the Jones Field resurfacing project was completed this summer.

The project was celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 1, with a rededication and a bell-ringing just before Hornet football’s season opener against Northwest Missouri State. Representatives of the major contributors to the project — the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, the City of Emporia, and Emporia USD 253 — were on hand to celebrate the rededication.

“So many of our capital projects wouldn’t be a reality without the support of numerous private gifts and support of our local foundations and communities,” said Kent Weiser, Emporia State’s executive director of intercollegiate athletics. “When I see all the different things we’ve been able to do, most recently with the new Jones Field and the Zola Witten Track renovations, it wouldn’t be possible without the support of proud members of Hornet Nation.”

The new RamTurf, which was installed by ATG Sports out of Andover, is one of three recent additions to Welch Stadium. Last year, the Dennis Shogren Scoreboard was added to Welch Stadium, and the new Zola Witten Track resurfacing project was completed this summer after the Jones Field resurfacing project was finished. The Zola Witten Track will be rededicated during a ceremony on Oct. 15 during Homecoming weekend. 

In addition to Welch Stadium serving as the home of Hornet football and Hornet track and field, it serves as the home of the Emporia High Spartans. Other organizations and high schools throughout Kansas also hosts events at Welch Stadium.

This past summer, Welch Stadium was home to the Kansas Shrine Bowl for the fifth time. Welch Stadium has also been the site of the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) 6A State Football Championship Game since 1994.

Northern Heights, Chase County and Osage City high schools have each played regular season football games on Jones Field at Welch Stadium. Monetary gifts to the Jones Field resurfacing project have come from a broad base of supporters.

“Emporia State University is proud of the beautiful home to Hornets football and track and field and grateful to all of those who helped with the new turf and new track surface,” said ESU President Allison D. Garrett. “We are thankful for the support of Emporia and surrounding communities and happy that we are able to host many area events in historic Welch Stadium.”

The newly resurfaced Jones Field turf features a number of technical advancements, including the turf’s ability to reflect the sun’s ultraviolet rays and an improved sub base drainage system.

Not only has there been excitement within the athletics department, there’s also been excitement throughout the university and the Emporia community.

“The vibrant gold track, new turf and the redesigned graphics on the football turf are producing quite a bit of excitement and hype on campus and in the community,” Weiser said. “We wanted to give the community something they can all be proud of.”


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