The turf is always greener

The grass is always greener

Missouri S&T students and alumni partnered to cover Jackling Field at Allgood-Bailey Stadium with synthetic turf.

Last fall, the intramural field near Missouri S&T’s Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building was torn up to make way for the campus’s geothermal energy project. Rather than reseed the field, Missouri S&T students voted to use $1.8 million in activity fees to cover the intramural field – and Jackling Field in Allgood-Bailey Stadium – with artificial turf.

Less than a year later, the project was completed and on Saturday, Sept. 20, the Miners will take the field for their first game on the new turf. The fields can be used year-round, will lower maintenance expenses and provide an even playing surface for varsity athletes and thousands of S&T students who play intramurals.

To reach the $2.4 million project total, another $300,000 in reinvestment funds from the geothermal project went toward turf installation. The remaining funds were raised by alumni and friends thanks to a challenge issued by three Tulsa-area couples with ties to Miner athletics.

Tulsa Turf Team

Kristie and John Gibson, Keith Bailey and Steve Malcolm are four of the six members of the Tulsa Turf Team who provided a 1-to-1 match to help fund the installation of turf at Missouri S&T. (Photo by Rick Ayre/Oneok Inc.)

Inspired by the Missouri S&T students’ vision, Keith Bailey, a 1964 mechanical engineering graduate, and his wife, Pat; Steve Malcolm, a 1970 civil engineering graduate, and his wife, Gwen; and Kristie and John Gibson, both 1974 engineering management graduates; issued the Tulsa Turf Team Challenge, which provided a 1-to-1 match up to $300,000 for all private donations.

“Tulsa is a close-knit business community,” says Bailey, who played football and basketball at Rolla. “We have a great personal friendship, in addition to a business relationship.” Bailey and Malcolm are both retired CEOs from Williams and John Gibson is non-executive chair of ONEOK Inc., ONEOK Partners LP and ONE Gas Inc.

“I was convinced that this was worthwhile because of the students’ commitment to help fund it,” says Bailey. “They ended up with two fields that will benefit the entire student body. It gives the school a lot more functionality.”

“Kristie and I appreciate that this also benefits intramurals,” says Gibson, who played basketball at Rolla. “Although I was fortunate to participate in intercollegiate athletics, I remember how important intramurals were to many other students.”

Some highlights from the turf installation:

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Story by Mary Helen Stoltz
Photos by Sam O’Keefe