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Gate City buys naming rights to Fargodome turf

FARGO -- The Fargodome is going 3D and Gate City Bank is contributing to it. The two announced a $1 million partnership Thursday that will give Gate City the naming rights to the new Astroturf GameDay 3D field turf that is expected to be completed next summer.

The new softer surface with rubber infill will have yellow end zones with a Bison logo at midfield. It will be called Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

The total project is budgeted at $3 million, although Fargodome general manager Rob Sobolik said indications are it will come in under that. Contractors are expected to begin work next week to expand the storage pit in the south end zone.

The turf carries an eight-year warranty and estimates indicate a shelf life of eight to 10 years. But Sobolik said because it is indoors, the Dome Authority has been told it's possible it could get 11 to 12 years out of it.

The branding agreement is for 11 years and includes signage below the scoreboard.

Taking into account NDSU practices and games, high school and youth games, Sobolik figures the turf gets used at least 125 days a year. The dome floor will essentially be shut down during installation, and Sobolik said it's expected to be ready for the annual USA Wrestling tournament in July.

It will have about the same event conversion time as the current turf. It will take less than 30 minutes to roll out the new turf, Sobolik said.

"That conversion time is phenomenal," he said.

Gate City and the Dome Authority have been in discussions since last spring, said Gate City Chairman, President and CEO Steve Swiontek. It's not the first time the bank has aligned itself with the dome; the Gate City Bank Theatre has been putting on events for 10 years.

Gate City has also invested with the university with endowments and classroom projects.

Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.