PORTLAND - Next fall, "Friday night lights" will shine on new and improved high school football fields of Portland Public Schools.
On Monday, the school board passed a proposal ensuring every PPS high school will get a new track and synthetic turf infield. It's a $7.2 million project. $5.2 million will come from school construction excise tax revenue and $2 million will come from community partners like Nike and the Timbers Army.
Some schools, like Lincoln and Cleveland, already have turf infields after raising community support to pay for them.
Two years ago Madison High School got a new track, but funding for a new field was a hurdle they just couldn't clear until now.
"I had no words. I'm so excited that we're going to get this turf field," said Madison quarterback Schuller Rettig. Last year, Rettig injured his knee playing football when his foot got stuck in the mud.
"Not fun," said Rettig.
The new infield will benefit more than students.
"You're going to come by on Saturdays and see youth soccer games, and on Sundays you'll see adult (sports) leagues," said Madison head football coach Adam Skyles. "This field is going to bring people together."
Right now Madison's track is closed to the public, but that may change when the new turf goes in. Construction is set to begin over the summer on four infields, including Madison's, and one track.
They should be ready in time for next fall's sports season.