The Carolina Panthers, NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have awarded a $200,000 matching grant to Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, N.C., to install a synthetic turf football field.
"The Carolina Panthers are pleased to help provide Smoky Mountain High School with critical funding in support of a new synthetic athletic field," said Riley Fields, the Carolina Panthers director of community relations. "The enthusiasm and support for this project will help ensure the new field will serve the Jackson County community for years to come."
The grant is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year by the NFL Foundation/LISC Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Foundation and LISC.
Since 1998, LISC has committed nearly $40 million to the program in support of the creation or refurbishment of 306 fields nationwide. Fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements including irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. Grassroots grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.
"We are very pleased and grateful that the Jackson County School System was selected to receive a grant from the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program to support the conversion of the football field from natural turf at Smoky Mountain High School to a synthetic turf," said Brian McMahan, Chairman of the Jackson County Commissioners.
"This action will have a significant impact on the entire community as it will provide an all-weather field that can be used not only by the many high school sports teams, band and other student activities, but it will offer a field that is accessible for community recreational activities. This project is a wonderful example of the partnership between the Jackson County Commissioners and the Jackson County School Board, and we are most appreciative of the Carolina Panthers support for our application."