By Stefanie Kilnapp
Thanks to the Eagles Boosters, North Olmsted’s “Turf the Field” project was awarded $100,000 for the goal of an artificial turf playing field at North Olmsted High School.
The North Olmsted Stadium Foundation includes three phases and if completed, would allow for multiple benefits.
“There are three phases in total, and if all three phases are done, it would include brand- new facilities, including snack bar and bathrooms, and locker rooms as well,” Bill Escher, president of the North Olmsted Eagles Boosters, explained.
The majority of this check was raised through the Nautica’s Charity Poker Night in downtown Cleveland.
“That’s actually how we raised a good chunk of the money,” Jackie Dickey, the Eagle Boosters second vice president, elaborated. “For the last five years – before Nautica closed – twice a year, the Eagle Boosters would go down there and run the charity poker tournaments for the weekend. That was our cash cow, and we were able to stash away some of the cash from that.”
Unfortunately, Nautica is not open anymore, so “that door is closed for everybody,” Escher said. But North Olmsted is not worried in the least about the remainder of the money needed to fulfill the goal of $1.5 million dollars.
When asked if the goal will be met, Dickey said, “Absolutely,” without hesitation. Ben Stumpf, a 2006 graduate and treasurer of the North Olmsted Stadium Foundation, told of how the money will be raised. “We’re getting grants from various organizations, donations through alumni, Boosters, businesses.”
“This next step in order to improve the high school is absolutely necessary,” Stumpf said. “Games are constantly being canceled; the band constantly has to play on the track. They can’t do their full performance. It’s completely necessary.”
Bad drainage is the cause for the bad shape of the field. Water lingers, creating muddy playing conditions.
“We had to move playoff soccer games; you lose your home court advantage.” Dickey stated. “The year before this, the band only got to play one time on the field.”
The band, football team and soccer team are thrilled to have the opportunity for a new field.
“I’m excited to be the first class to play on the turf,” junior Chris Lewis said. “I look forward to representing the city and community in such a way. I’m definitely grateful for this foundation.”
North Olmsted High’s athletic teams won’t be the only ones benefitting from access to the field.
“The recreation center can use the field, as well as the North Olmsted Soccer Organization. We can have soccer tournaments and band shows,” Dickey concluded.
This development proves important to the community. If anyone is interested in helping out or learning more, feel free to visit www.NOstadiumfoundation.com.