HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
NFL pledges $200,000 for Roosevelt FieldTurf
The school's alumni and the state also contribute to raise the necessary funds
The beaten-down surface of Roosevelt High School's football field is getting lots of love these days.
The National Football League is the latest benefactor. Through its Grassroots program, the NFL and NFL Players Association donated $200,000 to the project yesterday. FieldTurf will replace the hardened natural surface at Roosevelt, which turns into a mud bog for virtually the entire schedule every season.
The installation of FieldTurf, which is the preferred alternative by many players when grass is not feasible, isn't new to the islands. FieldTurf is installed at Aloha Stadium and Saint Louis School's football practice facility.
In addition to the field, a new entry road is planned for the Roosevelt facility. The stadium is used by Roosevelt and nearby schools Farrington, McKinley and Kaimuki.
Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya applied for the NFL grant on behalf of the school. It is likely that the field will also be used by the NFL during Pro Bowl week.
"A refurbishment of Roosevelt field is long overdue. I've seen too many games where our student-athletes are playing in the mud. ... It (makes) for a sloppy game," Amemiya said. "It's not the fault of Roosevelt. They've done the best they can, but because the field's used constantly and it rains a lot, it never has a chance to heal. We have to give a lot of credit to the NFL because they started the ball rolling with their matching grant proposal."
The donation is part of a $2.5 million effort by the NFL to refurbish fields in 19 cities.
Recently, a fundraiser dinner for Roosevelt alums put a big dent into the cost. The dinner, also spearheaded by Amemiya, raised more than $500,000.
"There are a lot of prominent graduates from Roosevelt," he noted. "They wanted to help out."
The contributions supplement the estimated $2 million in appropriations from the state for the project, Amemiya said. In all, the Roosevelt High School Alumni Association and the State of Hawaii will provide more than $4.5 million to meet the match requirements of the NFL grant.
Amemiya and his wife, Bonny, have donated $20,000 for a brand-new football/soccer scoreboard and a pair of 25-second play clocks at Roosevelt, as well. The scoreboard will have a wireless connection.
"Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. My wife and I feel strongly about improving our public-school fields," Amemiya said.