For 38 years, the three high schools in eastern Loudoun County have often had to be at the mercy of Mother Nature when it came to playing football games and soccer matches on their natural-grass fields.
On Tuesday, that all changed.
The Washington Redskins and its Charitable Foundation – partnering with the NFL Grassroots Field Grant Program and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – have announced a funding partnership in the amount of $1 million to install a brand new synthetic, multi-sport field at Park View High School in Sterling, Va., the flagship high school in eastern Loudoun County.
"Working together and having this opportunity for Park View is something special," Redskins owner Dan Snyder said Tuesday in a press conference at the school's football field. "When we see the final completion, we want to make sure you all come out and see it, because it ends up being something so dramatic and so touching to the kids, and it's all about the kids in the end."
The synthetic turf field – scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2015 – will be a hub of events, games, tournaments and practices for athletes and members of the entire community, according to Scott York, Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
"This will be an important piece not only for the high school, but for the community in general as well, to have a facility that the community can use virtually 24 hours a day, whereas with the regular grass fields, they have to really reserve them only for game days for both soccer and football," York told Redskins.com. "So this will extend the ability for the high schools to have practices out here, as well as the community and other organizations in the community to be able to use this field."
In all, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and the NFL Grassroots Field Grant Program have donated $100,000 each to the project, while the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is accounting for the additional $800,000 in funding for the field's completion.
It's those investments in the local community's children that really excites Dr. Ed Hatrick, Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent.
"This is a very exciting day for the students who are here now, for the students that will be here in the future," said Hatrick, who was joined at Tuesday's presentation by several Park View High School student athletes. "This is going to make a significant difference in the athletic life of this community and in the community's life, because as Chairman York said, when we have a turf field, it can be made available to the community for much more use than when we're having to defend a grass field."
Buddy Rizer, director of Loudoun County Economic Development, said the installation of the turf field at Park View High School, which opened in 1976, is one of many examples of a continued strong partnership between the county and the Redskins, whose headquarters are located in Ashburn, Va.
"It's the great participation and the cooperation between our board of supervisors, the Redskins Charitable Foundation and the NFL that really brought this to a reality," Rizer said. "We are working constantly with the Redskins to find new ways and to further engage them into the community and find new ways that our partnership can leverage opportunities. That's one of the great things that we enjoy with the Redskins right now is that opportunity to look for ways to grow."
Hatrick expressed his gratitude to all of those who had a hand in Tuesday's presentation.
"To the Redskins, to the National Football League, to all of those who have helped us get to this point, on behalf of the students of Park View High School and Loudoun County Public Schools -- and on behalf of all of us who work in LCPS -- I want to say thank you for this advancement coming to Park View High School here in Loudoun County, Va.," he said.