BLACKSBURG — Town school sports boosters say they have raised the $350,000 needed to replace the high school athletic stadium’s field grass with synthetic turf.
The $350,000 generated through private donations from the Blacksburg Athletic Club will go toward the new turf itself, while Montgomery County Public Schools plans to spend at least another $350,000 to improve the field’s drainage and slope, according to school officials.
“We are excited that the Athletic Club was able to raise funds to cover the difference between the natural grass and the artificial turf,” county schools superintendent Mark Miear wrote in an email. “Artificial turf allows for more sports to utilize the field and requires less annual maintenance. This change will benefit multiple athletic teams at BHS.”
The field at Bill Brown Stadium became unplayable last year following heavy rainfall, prompting postseason football games to be moved to Christiansburg High School’s newly added artificial turf field.
The issues remained until the spring when several Blacksburg High soccer games were moved to Virginia Tech, school officials previously said.
However, the high school stadium’s athletic field, located off Prices Fork Road, has experienced troubles since it opened in 2008, such as water retention and
grubs, a pest known to ruin natural grass turfs by eating the roots, according to boosters.
Jason Massie, the athletic club president, said plans call for grading to begin Nov. 1 and for the installation of the new turf to start some time after that.
Massie praised the community’s support.
“I feel ecstatic,” he said. “I don’t think anybody else besides our team could have got it done. When we needed everybody, everybody stepped up to the plate.
“I just want to thank the Blacksburg community, and the Blacksburg Athletic Club.”
Christiansburg High replaced its old natural grass field with synthetic turf last year as part of a $1.9 million project that also involved the addition of a rubberized track.
The recent athletic projects at Christiansburg High are part of long-term plans to fix up and expand the high school, which is nearly four decades older than its Blacksburg counterpart.
The estimated $70 million renovation and expansion of Christiansburg High is expected to begin in a few years.
Blacksburg will become the latest Timesland high school to join a growing trend of installing artificial surfaces at outdoor athletic facilities.
Nine other school facilities have switched to artificial playing surfaces. The latest was Glenvar High School in Roanoke County, which began playing football on its new turf in August.
Staff writer Robert Anderson contributed information to this report.