A $20,000 check delivered this month to the Game On Campaign volunteers brings them a bit closer to an ambitious $2 million goal to renovate and repair the Dunwoody High School football and softball fields and refurbish the aging track.
The hefty donation came from the All Fore One golf tournament held on Oct. 2. The All Fore One committee is comprised of parent volunteers from Dunwoody High School, Peachtree Charter Middle School, Austin Elementary, Chesnut Elementary, Dunwoody Elementary, Hightower Elementary, Kingsley Elementary and Vanderlyn Elementary.
“It’s huge,” DHS football coach Mike Nash said of the donation. “This campaign is almost $2 million, so every little bit helps.”
Melissa Humphries, parent of a student athlete and member of the Dunwoody High School Community Association, said the Game On Campaign has raised some $450,000 in its first year. With that money, the campaign has paid for new aluminum bleachers that were recently installed on the visitors’ side of the football field.
A 5-foot-tall fence around the football field is expected to be completed in the next few weeks and the refurbishing of the track should be finished by November, she said. A paved walkway around the track is under construction.
The second phase of the project includes new lights at the football field and the adjacent girls’ softball field, she said. Another part of the second phase is construction of an archway and brick path leading to the football stadium and a new concession stand and restroom facility.
Game On Campaign officials hope to raise another $400,000 by the end of December to cover the costs of the second phase, Humphries said.
Coach Nash said when he came to DHS two years ago, the football field was “unplayable.” The team’s booster club and other volunteers worked over the summer to fix up the field with natural grass and now freshman football games and junior varsity games can be played on the field, he said.
“I’m a coach, but sometimes I feel like all I do is cut grass and raise money,” Nash said.
The varsity football team plays its home games at Chamblee, but plans to return to its own school’s field after the work of the campaign is finished.
DeKalb Schools did not respond to a request for comment.
School Board member Stan Jester of Dunwoody would not comment specifically about the Game On Campaign. He did say the school district budget is bigger “than it has ever been” at $1.7 billion.
“There is a retention swamp in front of Dunwoody High School the school district can’t maintain to code,” he said. “The school district couldn’t take care of Dunwoody’s middle school football fields, so they are letting the city take care of it.”
“Perhaps [the lack of funding is] for the same reason that the school district buys 100 percent of the football equipment — shoulder pads and helmets — for all the students at all the high schools, except Dunwoody High School and Lakeside High School,” he said.