After opening the 2023 season with three consecutive road games, Monacan High School’s football team finally christened its new turf field last Friday night prior to its home opener against Cosby.
Monacan is one of two Chesterfield high schools to have their grass playing surface replaced by turf this year. A similar ribbon-cutting ceremony took place prior to L.C. Bird’s home opener Aug. 24 against James River.
“As a former coach, I’m excited about this opportunity for the players. It changes the entire environment of a sporting event,” said Dr. Merv Daugherty, superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS), who coached football for 14 years in Maryland before moving into school administration.
The Board of Supervisors approved $2 million in local funding for each turf field conversion, including improvements to drainage and accessibility. Chesterfield Parks and Recreation managed the projects in coordination with CCPS staff.
The new Sprinturf Ultrablade fields are durable enough to be used year-round, eliminating downtime for grass growth, while significantly reducing the likelihood of having to postpone events because of inclement weather.
“While the football team will take the field tonight, many other students will also benefit from this field improvement – including our marching band, color guard, dance team, cheerleaders, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and track and field teams, as well as our Health and PE classes,” said Monacan High Principal Bill Broyles.
Board of Supervisors Chair Kevin Carroll noted that Monacan’s new field is both a school and community asset; when the school isn’t using it, such as weekends and school breaks, it will be available to local organizations affiliated with the Parks and Recreation department.
“We couldn’t do that with a grass field – it would become unusable. We had to have something like this that would hold up,” he said. “In the long term we’re going to find out this was a great investment. It’s more cost-effective and I think it’s going to be a great thing for this community.”
Dot Heffron, the Clover Hill District’s School Board representative and a Monacan High alumnus, called the new turf field “an investment in our children’s future.”
“As parents, we want to provide for our children as best we can. On a larger scale, that’s what we do as a school division by providing our students the resources they need to be successful,” she said. “We all know the importance of creating ways for students to connect with each other so they feel safe and supported. The athletic teams and marching band that will practice and compete on this beautiful new field represent some of the strongest connections students make in high school.”
The turf fields are intended to serve school and community activities for the next eight to 10 years. In the future, Chesterfield’s other high school fields will also be evaluated for conversion from grass to turf.
Monacan’s first game on the new turf was successful, as the Chiefs picked up their first victory of the season by edging Cosby 21-18.