Private donors, governments, community-minded businesses, and volunteers have come together to bring life to a sports field project in the works for several years.

The ground has been broken for the new $2.5 million artificial multi-sports field adjacent to Cochrane High School and is expected to be completed in October. A sod-turning ceremony was held on Aug. 2 in front of the work underway by Wilcox Artificial Turf Construction. 

It comes after over $2.5 million in public and private donations were secured, including an initial $1.2 million anonymous donation that anchored the entire project.

Both the Town of Cochrane and Rocky View County (RVC) contributed $600,000, and a $500,000 grant was received from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.

"This project was an easy thing to fund and support from the Town of Cochrane's point of view, especially given the fact that it's costing us 25 per cent of what it would cost if we were to fund the entire project," says Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung.

RVC Mayor Don Kochan believes many sports-minded county residents will benefit from playing on the safe and state-of-the-art turf. His son played for the Cochrane Cobras football team several years ago.

"We have private donors, we have Cochrane donating, so it was an easy decision as far as donating $600,000 towards this project."

The town and county both contributed to the first artificial turf opened in Cochrane at the Bow Valley High School six years ago. 

The new multi-sports field will be permanently marked for football, rugby, and soccer and have a certified rugby shock pad. There will also be improvements to lighting, scoreboard, fencing, and bleachers.

Tara McFadden, chair of the town's parks and recreation committee, called it another win for Cochrane.

"I want to applaud the Cochrane Track and Field Association for their tenaciousness in making this happen, not only for students but Cochrane as a whole. I'm really excited to be here celebrating with them."

Fundraising continues for the new scoreboard and bleachers, says Leslie Ann Kalman, president of the Cochrane Track and Field Association. 

Half of the funds required for the score clock have been secured, and there are two $15,000 sponsorship spots remaining.

While there's been a strong initial response to the bleacher fundraising, more contributions are sought. For a $250 donation, the donor's name will permanently be attached to the bleacher seat. There's also the opportunity to sponsor a complete bleacher section for a minimum donation of $7,000.

Other ways to contribute can be found here.

The initial plan called for the inclusion of a four-lane track that was dropped from the project. Cochrane will remain trackless.