UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It's not quite Del Mar but there will be turf near the surf as UCSB is taking out the grass at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium and replacing it with artificial turf.
"It's been about a two-year process from our first commitment to getting a shovel in the ground," began UCSB baseball coach Andrew Checketts. "We have about ten more weeks before it is wrapped up but exciting project for our program."
The price tag is 2.8 million dollars, all from private donations.
The artificial turf will allow more practice time on the field for the players especially during the rainy season early in the year.
"We are training in January and playing games in February and that is when the majority of the rain hits Santa Barbara," said Checketts who has coached the Gauchos for 12 seasons.
Checketts also noted that the stadium does not take water well as they have had flooding in their dugouts and clubhouse in the past.
He also said that they won't have to spend as much time on field maintenance and can focus on other areas to improve the stadium.
Artificial turf has improved over the years and so Checketts is confident that the turf field will play very similar to grass.
Typically artificial turf will last between 8-12 years.
It is still rare for California baseball programs to have artificial turf as UCSB will join San Francisco, Santa Clara and Cal Baptist as the only other NCAA Division 1 schools in the state to not play on grass.
UCSB will play many of their fall scrimmages at Westmont College in Montecito until this project is done.
An artist rendering of the new artificial turf shows two palm trees going from the edge of the infield into the outfield.