By Marty Gordon
Ground was officially broken Friday for a new synthetic turf field at Blacksburg High School. For the past few years, the school has had to deal with poor field conditions and has even been forced to play some “home” football playoff games on the road at Christiansburg’s new turf field.
Members of the athletic staff, county administration, booster club and student-athletes used gold shovels Friday to move the first amount of dirt during a special ceremony in front of the stadium’s field house. Several pieces of heavy equipment from the contractor, LandTek, sat nearby.
Dr. Mark Mier, superintendent of Montgomery County schools, told onlookers there was excitement in the air. He praised the community’s support for this plan. “It could not have happened without the support of the community. The boosters have done a great job in raising this money,” he said.
The main concern and delay in this project that was discussed as far back as 2007 was the price tag. The Blacksburg Athletic Boosters had tried several times to raise the majority of the money. This past fall all of that finally became a reality when the group presented a check to Mier and the school board for $350,000, the booster club’s share of the project.
Blacksburg Athletic Director Peter Lyell said the new turf field will provide a safe environment that in turn will allow the student-athlete to perform at the highest level.
The overall price tag is $800,000, and some money was already in place through capital funding by the Montgomery County School Board.
The Christiansburg project was completed two years ago and has allowed the school’s football team to play several games in poor weather conditions. Blacksburg has had to play as many as three playoff games on the CHS field.
The Blacksburg field will stretch from fence to fence (120’ X 265’) at the current Bill Brown Stadium. The school already has a synthetic track on an alternate site, so no work will be done to the current paved track at the football stadium. This renders the project cheaper in comparison to CHS where the cost of a track was included.
According to MCPS staff, grading will begin this week and the overall BHS project could be completed within six weeks depending on the weather.
Soccer and lacrosse teams could take to the new field in early spring with an official dedication expected later in the year.