Edmond residents pivotal in installing Santa Fe turf

Edmond residents Mark Hill, left, and Dan Collier are both with UBU Sports, the manufacturer of the synthetic turf system purchased for the new $10 million Santa Fe High School Football Stadium. The initial Edlam game will kick off the opening of the stadium between Santa Fe and Edmond North at 7 p.m. Sept. 2.

Synthetic turf for Edmond Santa Fe High School’s new stadium has been laid and according to the company’s vice president it is among the finest stadium surfaces in the nation.

Speed S5-M Series synthetic turf system from UBU Sports, a manufacturer and supplier of synthetic turf systems that optimize performance and improve safety, has been installed at Santa Fe’s new $10 million football stadium, set to open this football season.

Dan Collier and Mark Hill, both with UBU Sports, are Edmond residents and in charge of overseeing the turf for the new Santa Fe Stadium.

Edlam games open the season on Santa Fe’s new turf. The first home contest on the schedule is set between Edmond Santa Fe and Edmond North high schools and will start at 7 p.m. Sept. 2. Edmond North takes on Edmond Memorial Sept. 9, and Santa Fe will play Edmond Memorial Sept. 23. All of the games will begin at 7 p.m., said Edmond’s Athletic Director Mike Nunley.

The original Edmond High School started playing at Wantland Stadium at what is now the University of Central Oklahoma in 1924. The first high school’s name changed to Edmond Memorial and was joined in the 1990s by Edmond North and Edmond Santa Fe all playing at Wantland Stadium.

As the teams play on Santa Fe’s home field, they will be playing on not just any surface, but be competing on the same surface in place across the National Football League. Edmond schools will be joining NFL teams including the New York Giants, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.

“My responsibility is to make sure the dollars our patrons entrust us with are spent to the very best of our ability. So, by saying multibillion-dollar corporations like NFL teams are confident in this vendor, then that allows me to sit back and have confidence in the product we elected to go with,” said Mike Nunley, district director of athletics for Edmond Public Schools, noting that there are more than 70 events planned for the field in the first year. Marching band, soccer and track events not including football practices.

“It’s been almost a 90-year dream to get to this, so the excitement in our community is unbelievable,” Nunley added.

The Speed S5-M Series features a slit-film fiber with a mixed rubber/sand infill that ensures a fast, firm, safe and durable playing surface. Drainage perforations allow water to move quickly through the turn and into the drainage system.

The ISO Grid system contributes to consistent playability throughout the field, while the exclusive multiple layer ARMOURWEAVE backing system ensures dimensional stability and long-lasting seams. A secondary backing also ensures fiber retention.

“Edmond Public Schools is one of the outstanding school districts in Oklahoma. For decades, the district has prided itself on providing outstanding venues for its students,” said Dan Collier, vice president of sales, UBU Sports. “I am especially pleased with the architect, Sean Willis of The Stacy Group, for creating a specification that allowed Edmond Santa Fe High School to have the exact same playing surface that is used by so many NFL teams.

“UBU Sports is a leading brand of synthetic turf surfaces for use in a variety of sporting events, including football, baseball, field hockey, soccer, rugby and lacrosse. UBU Sports fields serve as ground gear for teams ranging from professional franchises, collegiate and major indoor arena leagues to local high schools and municipalities. UBU Sports incorporates science and technology into each surface they provide, creating the ultimate ground gear for athletes.”

Collier and his wife have lived in Edmond since 1985 with the exception of a few years. They have two sons who graduated from Santa Fe. He said they moved to Edmond for the schools, and their son Tom graduated in 2000. Greg graduated in 2005 and they had an exchange student who also graduated from Santa Fe.

“Our sons both bought homes in the Santa Fe area and each live a quarter of a mile from the school,” Dan said. “And my wife and I have always followed Santa Fe sports.”

Collier was with a different company when he sold the Edmond School District turf for all three fields 11 years ago.

“When I sold the fields I told Bret Towne, who at that time was the director of district operations, that I had a personal interest in the fields because of living in Edmond and that I would always make sure these fields were maintained.

“After I left the original company, I still visited the fields twice a year and would see that they were kept up. I would send an email with a printed image of the field and ask Bret to ask the coaches and school athletic directors to mark areas of concern, seams that were needing attention and numbers that might be missing.“

Turf fields have an eight-year warranty. Santa Fe’s field lasted 11 seasons.

Little problems, if not taken care of early, grow into larger problems and are more costly to fix, Collier said.

Those three Edmond fields were the first three he sold in Oklahoma and after that he sold 19 additional fields in the state.

“This is my 35th year in the business. When I started I was the youngest employee and now I am probably the oldest,” Collier said. “My job description has also changed, and now I am in charge of all sales west of the Mississippi.”

Collier said the new turf if taken care of properly could last 14 years before needing to be replaced.

“In the summer of 1989 Mark Hill entered the industry. He was the best installer in the synthetic turf industry,” Collier said.

Hill is director of quality assurance for UBU Sports.

Hill has lived in Edmond for 18 years, and his wife was born and raised in Edmond and graduated from the original Edmond High School. He has two stepsons who attended Edmond schools and a daughter who graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma. His wife retired from UCO this year where she had worked in the Max Chambers Library.

“Dan and I feel a lot of pride in working on and caring for the turf,” Hill said. Quality assurance and project management during the build to the turf being finished and ready for play is part of the job description,” Hill said.

“Actually we work closely with the grounds department. I am going to meet with them this week to go over different types of grooming equipment,” Hill said. “We determined that they don’t need to buy any new equipment at this time. We will still be doing periodic checks to make sure the school is grooming the field properly.”

Hill is also in charge of testing.

“We use the latest testing to make sure the playing turf is safe. During the testing I found out there is lead in everything including clothing,” Hill said. “Our numbers of lead content are under what toy regulation content for lead is.”

Hill said it is good to have the playing field in close by so they can see it day-to-day and monitor how it is being used.

“Ultimately we are concerned with safety, and we build our fields to be 100-percent safe,” Hill said.

A native Oklahoman, retired school teacher Patty Miller taught journalism and English for 30 years before beginning her second career as a reporter for The Edmond Sun in 2000. She is a previous winner of the OPA's Beachy Musselman Award.

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