Every morning when he rolls into Varina High School, head football coach Stu Brown takes a long look at the field.
“A play goes through my head. A play goes through my head that happened here,” explains Brown, “I love that I’m able to remember and reminisce, but I love walking out here everyday and seeeing what transpires.”
The green grass field built at Varina back in the 1950’s is now a sea of brown dirt.
Crews are digging up the old field and replacing it with synthetic turf. The new surface will be playable in almost any kind of weather.
“The whole community’s excited to get it,” adds Brown.
Varina, Freeman and Hermitage are the first of all nine Henrico County high schools to get the new turf fields.
It could be a game changer for Coach Brown and his Blue Devils.
“After a muddy game on a Friday night, you know, you got 60 pair of pants, 60 jerseys, 60 girdles to wash,” he explained. “So we’re not going to have a brush and Oxi Clean all night long. So you know as far as our job, it’s going to cut way back.”
The fields will be similar to the new synthetic turf in Greenwood Park where the county opted to use an organic infill of sand and coconut husks instead of the sometimes controversial crumb rubber.
“It creates a year-round use of a stadium complex when it might typically be just used for football to preserve a soft field during a wet fall period,” says Steve Hart, the Capital Project Manager for Henrico County Recreation and Parks.
School soccer and lacrosse teams can also use the fields. The $3.5 million project includes new tracks and new track & field equipment.
Every Henrico County high school is slated to get a synthetic turf football field within the next three years.