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William Fleming goes green with its new football field

May 21, 2010
  • William Fleming will soon have its own facility and you could say a big part of the stadium is "blowing in the wind."
William Fleming will soon have its own facility and you could say a big part of the stadium is "blowing in the wind."

Roanoke's new William Fleming High School has been open nearly a year now but something has noticeably been missing.

That's about to change.

For the last three years, the Colonels have had to play all of their home football games across town at Patrick Henry's stadium.

William Fleming will soon have its own facility and you could say a big part of the stadium is "blowing in the wind."

As the William Fleming players practice in their new stadium, they're wearing hard hats rather than helmets, and the field turf is missing.

But something that's already in place are these wind turbines.

"At 90 feet up with the amount of wind that is blowing here certainly you are going to generate some reasonable amount of electricity," said Deputy Superintendent Curt Baker.

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You heard right, the school will use wind to generate power for the stadium.

There are four turbines in all, each costing $40,000 bucks.

The school system believes they will pay for themselves within five to seven years.

"At the end of the day let's face it, this is a wonderful facility and we want folks to be proud of it, proud of it not just by the way it looks but because it's a cutting edge kind of place," said Deputy Superintendent Curt Baker.

It's a place that's bigger than Patrick Henry's stadium.

For one there's more land at Fleming and since there isn't a large neighborhood nearby there are no restrictions on its use.

So the school system is putting in more seats and a eight lane track in hopes of attracting tournaments to the area.

The team believes this may be one of the best stadiums in the state.

"There aren't going to be near it. I can tell you. It's going to be as nice as anything you can walk in on Friday night," said William Fleming football coach Lee Johnson.

It will also take some getting used to.

No one can recall William Fleming ever having a home stadium and the last few years, the team had to play at Patrick Henry.

"It's like you get your spirit up here and then you transport it up to your rival school so I feel like this will help us get a lot more school spirit with a lot more involvement with the sports," said William Fleming Senior Aaron Colster.

The players can't wait for the first game in the new stadium September 3rd.

"Just feel the excitement. Hear the crowd hey, Fleming actually have your own stadium for once. You will feel at home," said William Fleming Junior Sean Beckner. 

That home is costing a little over $4 million.

It was paid for back when Patrick Henry's stadium was built.

The school system is spending another three million dollars on other athletic fields and a field house.

The money is coming from the savings of the new high school which came in under budget.

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