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OREM – Utah Valley University's freshly installed artificial turf on its baseball field has yet to see any action. Now, it’s going to need extensive repairs before that day comes.
Two juveniles broke into UCCU Ballpark on June 27 and did donuts with an ATV across the outfield and infield of the new playing surface, causing more than $100,000 in damage, UVU spokesman Scott Trotter said.
"They did a lot of damage," Trotter said. "It wasn't like they walked in and in five minutes they were gone. They spent some time there."
The offenders hopped a fence to gain entry to the stadium and proceeded to break a lock off a door that housed keys to a pickup truck and the ATV used to drive on the field.
The university caught the perpetrators on video surveillance causing damage as they approached the stadium around 7 p.m. and were last seen on video driving west on University Parkway on the stolen ATV. The UVU Police Department found the individuals two days later and booked them into Slate Canyon Youth Detention Center in Provo and are awaiting trial, Trotter said.
The heat generated from the spinning tires on the turf melted plastic elements of the surfaces beneath the grass blades, bonding them together and rendering the field unplayable until repairs can be made. The school is still in the process of receiving estimates of the repairs and does not have a timeline of when the field will be fixed.
"It doesn't look too bad until you understand that it heated things up underneath and they're going to have to dig everything up to replace it," Trotter said.
UVU utilized a large donation from DoTerra to fund the one-plus million dollar price tag of the FieldTurf playing surface, which was installed just earlier this year. UVU was slated to play its inaugural game on the field when the season was put on pause and eventually canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.