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Greenbrier East Breaks Ground On Field

Farilea, WV – Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Thursday for the new $1.2 million synthetic-styled football field at Greenbrier East’s Spartan Stadium. The Greenbrier, Lynch Construction and the Spartan Athletic Foundation are partnering the new project. “We’re shooting for July 28 for the field to be ready for play,” Steve Baldwin, director of retail and brand management for The Greenbrier, said. Baldwin graduated from GEHS in 1978. “We’re excited about this opportunity to work with Greenbrier East High School.” Baldwin was referring to the $900,000 that The Greenbrier has put toward the state-of-the-art “A-Turf” field, which has a playing surface composed of micro-fibers, sand and rubber pellets “” designed specifically to reduce injuries associated with grass fields. “Of the $1.2 million project, we co-signed with the school on a $900,000 note, of which $300,000 was guaranteed by The Greenbrier,” Baldwin said. “Lynch Construction will be providing services that total the last $300,000.” GEHS principal Jeff Bryant said the idea for a new field came from a conversation last fall with the new president and CEO of The Greenbrier, Paul Ratchford. During Ratchford’s first week in Greenbrier County, he attended East’s homecoming game under conditions that were less than desirable. Heavy rains during the game turned the field into mush, with standing puddles of water eliminating any idea where line markers were. Several athletes were injured because of the horrible playing conditions that night, Bryant said. “Mr. Ratchford stood in the pouring rain alongside a fence with his blue jeans getting soaked and talked about his love of football and the role he wanted The Greenbrier to play in supporting the community,” Bryant said. “I thought that was truly extraordinary that he was so accessible to me.” In a recent Register-Herald interview, Ratchford said he personally approached CSX President Michael Ward about putting up the money for the new field. The railroad giant owns The Greenbrier. While running The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay resort in California, Ratchford was also part of an organization that brought a new football field to the local high school. “We did this at Half Moon Bay and it was a spectacular thing for the community,” Ratchford said previously. “This August, when Greenbrier East takes the field, the stadium will be packed and there will be lots of pride for the Spartans.”

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