Fund the Field stadium renovation campaign in jeopardy at Fort Myers High School

Published: December 2, 2022 4:14 PM EST
Updated: December 2, 2022 5:30 PM EST

The Fund the Field program at Fort Myers High School was raising money to renovate the high school stadium. But some donors have backed out, and the school needs to get the remaining money from outside the area.

Steven Cato is the athletic director at Fort Myers High School, and he discussed what could be ahead for the school’s Friday night lights with WINK News.

“We had a torrential downpour. Every team was able to after the rain cleared (to) play on their field. We’re the only team in Lee County that had to cancel their game,” Cato said. “Unable to play because our field was covered in water. Our drainage system is so old it doesn’t operate properly.”

Cato explained to WINK News the field has been challenging to manage.

Fund the Field campaign to renovate Fort Myers High School sports field. CREDIT: WINK News

That’s because of different events for different sports and consequently not giving the field time to grow back.

“When you get holes, all of a sudden, someone’s used to stepping in (the) grass. They step in sand, you know, injury may occur because it’s different footing,” Cato said.

The Fund the Field campaign was created to address these issues.

Models of what renovations would look like to the Fort Myers High School. CREDIT: Fort Myers High School

Groundbreaking was set for Dec. 15, which would transform the stadium with a new field and running track, but Ian got in the way.

“Because of the hurricane, all the damage and the devastation and the need of the community, the funds that were pledged that you know had to be reallocated. And we totally understand that,” Cato said.

Sports field at Fort Myers High School. CREDIT: WINK News

Cato remains hopeful for others in the community to get involved because the school wants to push forward while being sensitive to the community’s needs after Ian.

“It’s more than the field,” Cato said. “It’s the people that have come through and been a part of this program. And still, continue to be.”

What renovations would look like to the Fort Myers High School. CREDIT: Fort Myers High School

The school is up against the clock when it comes to raising the needed funds.

The school got a grant from the NFL, which they’re hoping to get an extension on because it expires on June 30, for $250,000.