N.C. Central is going to be playing on an artificial turf home football field for the first time this season.

Work has begun on installation of Mondoturf at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, allowing the Eagles to practice inside their playing facility. The $816,000 project has an anticipated completion date of Aug. 24.

With only one available practice field on campus at the track beside the stadium, the Eagles have often been forced to move practice off-campus.

“We’re extremely excited about the upgrade,” NCCU athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree (pictured) said. “The addition of the artificial turf will provide our student-athletes with an attractive and safe playing surface to improve their performance and showcase their talents.”

NCCU will play the first of its four games at the facility this season on Sept. 19 against Morehead State. The Eagles will open their season Sept. 5 at former long-time CIAA rival Hampton.