Glenvar's grass football field to be replaced with artificial turf

11 January 2019

Glenvar High School is getting a new football field.

The Roanoke County School Board on Thursday night approved the purchase and installation of a new artificial-turf playing surface to replace the grass field at Highlander Stadium beginning with the 2019 season.

Plans approved Thursday also call for a new six-lane rubberized track to replace the current asphalt surface.

Glenvar’s football field came under scrutiny last fall, as the Highlanders were among several Timesland schools that moved home playoff games to other facilities because of the condition of the playing surface in wet weather.

The Highlanders played a Region 2C first-round game against Buckingham County at Dwight Bogle Stadium, and they played their second-round game against Appomattox County at Salem Stadium.

Glenvar athletic director Richard McElwee, who attended Thursday’s board meeting, believes the price tag for the project to be approximately $1.5 million. He expects construction on campus to begin soon.

“I hope right away,” McElwee said.

Glenvar also plays varsity soccer on the field. McElwee said he will begin finding alternate sites for boys and girls games scheduled for this spring.

McElwee said Glenvar’s new field should be similar to the one installed in 2017 across the county at William Byrd.

“Our field’s supposed to be pretty much like Byrd’s,” McElwee said. “Our field gets a lot of use from middle school, high school, rec [leagues], track from both middle school and high school, not counting the [physical education] classes.

McElwee said Glenvar’s field has been damaged ever since the Highlanders played a state semifinal game at home in wet conditions against Nottoway in 2014.

“It never recovered from that,” he said.

Glenvar’s field sustained heavy damage during a regular-season game in September against James River on a night when two sump pumps were used to remove water from the sidelines.

The Highlanders played a regular-season game in Salem Stadium against Floyd County that was originally scheduled for Floyd but was moved in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

The condition of Salem Stadium was an eye-opener for McElwee.

“That field was pristine that night. It was night and day between their field our ours.”

Glenvar will become the 10th Timesland school to have an artificial surface on its home field, joining Salem, Patrick Henry, William Fleming, Cave Spring, Hidden Valley, Jefferson Forest, Galax, William Byrd and Christiansburg.

The decision to install artificial turf at Glenvar will leave Northside as the only public high school in Roanoke County that has a natural grass field in its football stadium.