EATON TWP. — The Cleveland Browns announced Thursday that an NFL charity is giving the Midview Schools $200,000 to help install artificial turf at the high school football stadium as part of $2.5 million of grants from NFL teams to school districts.
The new turf field is expected to be ready for the start of fall sports, according to Creg Jantz, Midview’s athletic director.
“It’s going to glow in the lights, and it’s going to be awesome,” Jantz said.
An earlier $350,000 donation from The Ross Foundation, the charitable arm of the community’s largest company, Ross Environmental Services Inc., got the ball rolling in November.
The NFL money is provided as matching grants, so the donation would not have been possible without the money from Ross.
“It takes someone to take that first move, and Ross made that first generous gift,” Jantz said.
The program is a partnership between the league and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and is part of a 14-year, $32.5 million commitment the NFL has made. So far, 256 football fields nationwide have been constructed or renovated.
Midview Schools Superintendent John Kuhn said Jantz and his team have worked hard to get the new field. Jantz, in turn, credited parents Sharon Duffner and Tim Ruffner of the Midview Touchdown Club for their hard work to snag the NFL grant.
Duffner, a teacher for the Elyria Schools, wrote the grant and said her husband, Shawn, was the first one to find out about the available money from the NFL.
Sharon Duffner said Ruffner kept the project rolling through his contacts with the Browns.
Kuhn said children of all grade levels will be able to use the field that will provide “excellent field conditions,” rain or shine.
Jantz said Precision Sports Group Inc. of Elyria is preparing the field, while the turf will be installed by a company called FieldTurf.
A third donation of $150,000 from 1948 Midview graduate William Carmel brought the amount raised to $700,000 — a little shy of the expected $800,000 cost of the project, Kuhn said.
Last fall was especially rainy and there were a number of times it was too muddy for the band to take the field, including on homecoming and Senior Night, Jantz said.
He said the Browns and NFL will be credited with the donation in signs at the stadium, while the field will be called Ross Field at Adelsberg Stadium.
The press box will be named The Carmel Maxwell Family Press Box at the request of Carmel to help honor the Maxwell family, which has long supported the school district, Jantz said.
Jantz said naming rights still are available for the track and for areas near the two goal posts.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or email@example.com.