Just do it, as Nike says. That’s the mantra parents, teachers, staff and supporters of Dunwoody High School’s athletic program are taking to raise some $2 million over the next three years so they can put in a new football and multi-use field and also repair the aging track.
The funds would go to adding a multi-sport artificial turf field with a resurfaced track, outdoor lighting for the softball and multi-sport field, spectator seating, a field house with restrooms, outdoor lighting, concession stand, locker rooms and weight rooms as well as provide maintenance, said Melissa Humphries, a parent of a student athlete and member of the Dunwoody High School Community Association, which works to support DHS and the community.
“This has been the vision we needed for a very long time,” Humphries said. “We just never had a formal campaign.”
Dunwoody High School and the Dunwoody Community Association are teaming up for the “Game On! Capital Campaign” that kicked off last month. The launch comes on the heels of a recently completed feasibility study that stated a $2 million goal is achievable, Humphries said.
“Let’s go for it,” DHS Principal Tom McFerrin said when the goal was set at $2 million. “Hopefully we can generate excitement for the project and improve our facilities for students and the community.”
At least one football player was injured this year during a practice session on the field that is marked with divots and rocks.
“The field is in such bad shape,” McFerrin said. “It’s tough to keep it maintained because it is used so much – we use it 365 days a year. The kids deserve a better field.”
Humphries said the goal of the campaign is to “bring our school up to the next level.”
The campaign is being conducted in phases. The first phase is to renovate and repair the football field, which is also used for soccer, lacrosse and band practice. Humphries said for construction to begin next spring, the community needs to raise about $1 million by January.
“The centerpiece of the project is the field and the track area,” McFerrin said. “We’ve visited a lot of different schools and looked at what they have and if the money starts coming in we can maybe start construction in the spring.”
McFerrin said the committee working to raise the $2 million is also seeking help from the DeKalb County School District, which is in charge of the school facilities.
“The county has a matching funding, but we are just now entering talks with them,” he said. “We want to ask the county to help us in any way they can.”
Athletic fields have been a hot political topic in Dunwoody. The school district and City Council are considering a land swap to move the Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields from Dunwoody Park to Peachtree Middle School in order to build a new Austin Elementary School at the park, near the Dunwoody Nature Center.
McFerrin said the timing for the high school athletic field campaign is purely coincidental. “We’ve been talking about doing something like this for 15 years,” he said. “This will be so great for the community. We hope people will step up and help us.”