When fans gather this fall at the football stadium, they'll see something new at the entrance of the field: a decorative brick wall and metal arch with the words "Welcome to Chantilly."
Community members paid for the new wall through the Chantilly High School Athletic Booster Club's "Buy a Brick" fundraiser. The Boosters conducted the fundraiser to help repay a $200,000 loan they took out to assist the Chargers with .
Now, the Boosters are moving on to the second phase of the fundraiser. They want to build a second brick wall near the side of the field. The profits of the sale will also help with capital improvements. A large banner is now situated on the side of the field with the slogan: "Support Your Chargers! Buy a Brick!"
"We're trying to reach out to more alumni, current students, future students," said Roseanne Arnold, an officer with the Boosters who is helping with fundraising.
If the success of the last endeavor is any indication, the community will step up to the plate. During the Boosters' last effort, the bricks sold within 6-9 months for prices ranging from $100 - $10,000. Clubs and teams at the school helped with the effort. The Pohanka Auto Group made a sizeable contribution by purchasing two columns at $10,000 each. The Chantilly Youth Association, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Chantilly High, and the Boosters also have their names on a pillar for each contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars toward the field.
"The best part about it is there were so many people involved," said Terry Brown, the school's athletic director.
Brown said most of the schools in the Concorde District now have turf fields, so the Boosters' effort was important to them. Synthetic turf has the advantage of reduced maintenance and can be used in all weather conditions.
"It saves us from cancelling games," Brown said.