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Contractors with Sprinturf install the new turf football field Wednesday at Jim Gotta Stadium in Moorhead. The first athletic events to be held on the new field will be on Sept. 5 with a 4 p.m. boys varsity soccer match followed by a 7 p.m. varsity football game. Nick Wagner / The Forum
Contractors with Sprinturf install the new turf football field Wednesday at Jim Gotta Stadium in Moorhead. The first athletic events to be held on the new field will be on Sept. 5 with a 4 p.m. boys varsity soccer match followed by a 7 p.m. varsity football game. Nick Wagner / The Forum

Spuds' new playing surface starts to take shape

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MOORHEAD – The reflection of trucks, dirt and workers at Jim Gotta Stadium never left the sunglasses of Moorhead athletic director Dean Haugo earlier this week.

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The smile beneath his glasses didn’t seem to go away either, as artificial turf was being put down.

“Isn’t this great?” Haugo said on Wednesday. “It’s been fun to watch it go from a completely gutted facility to starting to look like the facility we hoped it to be. Once they do the lettering, it’s going to be exciting to see the finished product.”

The $1.5 million renovation to Jim Gotta Stadium is on schedule with artificial turf being installed for the football and soccer field this week, asphalt being put down for the track next week and the track surface scheduled to be put in for mid-August.

The first athletic event to be held at the stadium is Sept. 5 with a 4 p.m. boys varsity soccer match followed by Moorhead’s 7 p.m. varsity football home opener.

“What a great way to open it with being able to have two events on it on the same day,” Haugo said. “Our whole objective was to be able to use it as much as possible and for multiple sports, and we’ll be able to showcase that right off the bat.”

The varsity girls and boys soccer teams have called Horizon Middle School home since 2000. They aren’t the only ones happy to have a new home, as Moorhead will host track and field events with the hopes of soon hosting a section track and field meet.

“We are so excited to be able to host our own track meets,” Haugo said.

The renovation is something Haugo has been talking about since April 9, 2012 – the day he was officially hired as athletic director. The conversation, however, started before Haugo got to Moorhead.

“One of the first conversations that (former Moorhead AD) Don Hulbert and I had before he left was his thoughts on some big-picture things that needed to happen here and we were on the same page,” Haugo said. “The conversation had been had before I got here.”

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Chris Murphy is the Minnesota preps and Fargo Force beat reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota for the last five years and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so. If reading him in the paper and online isn't enough, you can read more of him at the Forum Preps Blog: http://forumpreps.areavoices.com/  
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