A project that has been in the works for years and dreamed about even longer is about to become a reality.
Anchored by a $1.2 million anonymous donation and $600,000 from both the town and Rocky View County, the ground is expected to be broken by the end of June for the town's second multipurpose artificial turf.
It's located by the tri-schools in the Cochrane Heights neighbourhood and will be used to accommodate several recreational, cultural, and cross-curricular educational activities. It's especially a major win for the highly-competitive sports teams of Cochrane High.
Leslie Ann Kalman, president of the Cochrane Track and Field Association, says the field is expected to be completed sometime this fall with the hope of being available at some point in the high school football season.
Alongside the field, the long jump and pole vault area will be replaced with a hardtop. They'll also be improvements to the discus and shot put area.
Kalman says safety was the number one reason she became involved with the project. The field was considered too dangerous for league play, and instead, players and coaches travelled by bus to the SLS Legacy Sports Field at Bow Valley High School in heavy traffic.
"You've got that danger aspect of putting that many kids in a bus during that type of traffic. It doesn't make a lot of sense when you have a field here that could be turned into something spectacular, not just for football but also for soccer, rugby, and the general phys ed classes."
Adult rugby players will have reason to cheer because this facility, unlike the Legacy field, will have a shock pad that is required for the field to be certified for use by World Rugby. Currently, the adult teams are restricted to playing at Mitford Park.
Having an artificial turf also means its use won't be foiled by poor weather.
"There are three schools right there, so the field will be used all the time, and even more so because you can use an artificial surface when it's raining and after it's raining without having to worry about tearing up the grass."
She believes adding a second artificial turf opens the door to greater opportunities for the entire community.
"The Legacy Field is a great field as well but having two fields we'll be able to draw large camps and for advance tournaments."
An agreement is in place with Rocky View Schools, which is handling the tendering process. Its primary purpose is for school activities, but will also be available for community events.
Fundraising for bleachers and time clock
The association is reaching out to the community to fund the bleachers and replace an aging time clock.
Donations are already rolling in, and Kalman estimates they need to raise between $150,000-$200,000.
RVS is administering the funds and can provide charitable tax-deductible receipts.
Among those making contributions is Canlin Energy. This week, they donated $7,000.
Monday Allyn Cryne, Canlin health and safety manager. says giving back to the community is important to the company.
"It's pretty cool to be part of the project," says Cryne. "If you want to build a fan base, you have to give them a place to sit, and you want to make it a great experience for the players, too."
The company is widely known for making generous donations to community causes. This particular one strikes closer to home for Cryne, who has a daughter in grade 9 at the high school and two more attending classes there in the future.
Plus, he's a huge football fan.
"It's good to give it back and give the boys some good turf to play on instead of how I use to play back in the day on fields where you get twisted ankles and all that."
There are several ways you can earmark your donation and all the options are listed here.