Como Park High School Receives $250,000 Grant from Minnesota Vikings, NFL
Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is delighted to announce that it will receive $250,000 from the Minnesota Vikings, through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program, to install a new synthetic turf field at Como Park Senior High School.
“This is a great honor for our school,” said principal Theresa Neal, “and we are so grateful to the Vikings and NFL for funding our request, and to the many people inside and outside the school district who created a compelling proposal.”
The Como Park football program has been at a competitive disadvantage throughout its existence. Como’s Varsity Football team has practiced on a combination of grass, weeds, mud and marsh, inside a track. Varsity games could not be held at Como, which has played its “home” games off site. Como has never hosted a varsity football game or had a homecoming game on campus.
“The proud traditions of Como Senior High are evolving,” said Neal, “and that evolution has brought new vigor to the school. Joining football, basketball and hockey as athletic mainstays are, now, lacrosse and futsal. Many of these sports and many community events will take place each year on the new field.”
Community support for the replacement of Como’s football field is comprehensive and passionate, as evidenced by the 17 uniquely powerful letters of support included with the school’s proposal to the NFL and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The support goes well beyond students, parents and alumni of the school:
- Chad Kulas, executive director of the Midway Chamber of Commerce, speaks for many when he states that a new field will “be an asset to our community, and give our youth more options and opportunities.”
- Alumni parent Dr. David Lee says the new field will “bring tons of new energy to our campus, . . . a symbol of the pride we take in our student athletes . . . the opportunity to excel without limitations.”
- Doug Peltier, secretary of Region 4AA of the Minnesota State High School League, points out that upgrading Como’s field will “be in line with mission and goals of the MSHSL in working to improve playing conditions and safety for athletes. Completion of the project would make Como Park Senior High a much more viable site to host Region 4AA tournament contests.”
- Coach Bill Metzger of the North Area Titan Football Association, a member of USA Football and Heads Up Football practitioner, anticipates numerous benefits from being able to work on a new Como football field. “The result will be a better sense of community as our program will work directly with the high school in the area our program supports. . . . I foresee our participation increasing each year.”
Through its Facilities Master Plan, SPPS will provide the balance of the funds needed to complete the field.
The grant to SPPS from the Vikings, NFL Foundation, and LISC is part of more than $3 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.