Muddy mess leads to $1.5 million windfall for Glenvar High School

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ROANOKE, Va (WDJB7) Glevar High School athletic director Richard McElwee looks back on last year's football season with a sigh of relief.

"We were very fortunate nobody did get hurt," he said.

That's because, by the end of the season, Glenvar's field became a muddy slip'n'slide

"In my 13 years as athletic director it probably was the wettest season we've had in the fall," McElwee said.

Three games, two of them for the playoffs, had to be canceled because of the conditions. So did a major fundraiser for the band. And they aren't the only ones affected.

"We send our kids off premise to green hill park to play soccer. That's unacceptable to me," said Donald Butzer.

Butzer is chair of the Roanoke County School Board.

Because of the muddy mess at Glenvar, tonight he and three other board members voted to spend $1.5 million on a new artificial turf field and rubberized track for the campus.

"The durability of an artificial turf field is much better than grass," he said.

Not everyone agrees with the plan.

In a statement read to the board, Hollins District member David Linden called it "a misguided use of CIP Funds." He says a grass field could be installed at a fraction of the price, without impacting the "numerous needs and wants" of the Roanoke County School District, including the ongoing renovations at Cave Spring High School.

Donald Butzer and the other members of the board disagreed.

"It's the cost of doing business," said Donald Butzer.

They say the new facility will be on par with other projects already completed at Bogle Field and William Byrd High School.

Athletic Director Richard McElwee hopes this will be an improvement for all of Glenvar's students.

"The number of kids that we have that share that facility between the high school and middle school is phenomenal," he said. "It definitely will be used in an appropriate manner."