STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Purdue's 'scientific artists' prepare Ross-Ade Stadium for game day

The field may look pretty on the surface, but it's all about what you don't see that makes it unique.

Posted: Sep 6, 2019 7:47 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue's team of scientific artists has Ross-Ade Stadium all ready to go for the start of the 2019 football season Saturday. 

The field may look pretty on the surface, but it's all about what you don't see that makes it unique.

The work for the Purdue Sports Turf team begins well before the season starts. 

"Our process starts in May when the grass wakes up," said turf manager Brian Bornino.

Purdue is the furthest college north to have Bermuda grass on its football field, and it has great benefits.

"It has above ground stems and below ground stems. So it can recover from football traffic, from divots and things like that, way faster than cool-season," said Bornino. "Essentially what you get is this big mat of lateral growth."

When the first frost comes, the grass goes dormant. Bornino said that can happen anytime between mid-September and late-November.

"We can keep the soil temperatures up by using blankets," Bornino described. "We found that if you keep the frost off of it, we can keep it green a little bit longer."

Then when the grass is green, it's time for the fun part.

"All of our logos come through plastic stencils," said Bornino. "We dot them, then edge them. Usually on Wednesday's, weather dependant, we do all the white. The hashes, the lines, the numbers. Then we use Thursday's to do logos, boarders, last minute touch ups."

"Gray covers the best," Assistant Sports Turf Manager Steve Vonderheide said of the different paints. "Black we usually have to put two or three coats on."

They say there's a secret to getting the lines painted to perfection.

"It kind of goes back to Happy Gilmore where he says 'Happy, it's all in the hips!'"

If you think you have to cut your grass too much, imagine being these guys. The turf crew cuts the grass at Ross-Ade one time a day!

Up top, it's all artwork. The real magic of the turf happens down below.

"What's unique here is that we have the very first PAT System. That is prescription athletic turf and it's a drainage system," said Bornino.

The PAT system was designed at Purdue as a class project in 1971. Bornino said nobody else in the country has a system like this.

"What we are standing on is a gigantic bathtub that is about 16 inches deep in the middle of the field and nine inches at the goalposts. It slops in and is covered in plastic and then it has two four-inch drain lines that meet in the middle and then drain out."

The crew even let News 18's Trevor Peters take a try at painting. If the 'R' in messed up Saturday, that is why!

West Lafayette
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 76°
Kokomo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 78°
Fowler
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 76°
Williamsport
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 79°
Crawfordsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 73°
Frankfort
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 73°
Delphi
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 75°
Monticello
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 75°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 75°
After bout of some rain, a long, long warm, dry stretch!
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 944708

Reported Deaths: 15343
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1287051987
Lake634321097
Allen53759760
Hamilton43980448
St. Joseph42010590
Elkhart33651491
Vanderburgh30486449
Tippecanoe26872250
Johnson23685417
Hendricks22354341
Porter21799347
Clark17493231
Madison17439384
Vigo16209284
Monroe14515191
LaPorte14350239
Delaware14134222
Howard13921273
Kosciusko11448135
Hancock10886166
Warrick10715177
Bartholomew10589169
Floyd10471206
Wayne10020226
Grant9165204
Morgan8895160
Boone8417111
Dubois7748123
Dearborn764990
Henry7648130
Noble7435101
Marshall7384128
Cass7209117
Lawrence6999153
Shelby6616111
Jackson659186
Gibson6177107
Harrison606286
Huntington603195
Montgomery5830105
DeKalb578391
Knox5506104
Miami545788
Putnam540568
Clinton535965
Whitley526553
Steuben499768
Wabash486292
Jasper481860
Jefferson472892
Ripley456077
Adams445568
Daviess4209108
Scott407965
White392957
Clay392857
Greene390592
Wells388784
Decatur385996
Fayette377278
Posey361541
Jennings354356
Washington333747
LaGrange323575
Spencer319536
Fountain317955
Randolph314889
Sullivan308449
Owen284863
Starke281464
Fulton280054
Orange276859
Jay256338
Perry252552
Carroll244929
Franklin240538
Rush235630
Vermillion234450
Parke221020
Tipton210555
Pike209539
Blackford169634
Pulaski165551
Crawford146718
Newton145245
Benton143516
Brown135546
Martin129317
Switzerland126210
Warren115516
Union97711
Ohio80111
Unassigned0479

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events