EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Six months after construction began, crews are putting the finishing touches on East Cleveland’s $7 million Shaw Stadium.
The project was paid for in part through donations and grants from the Cleveland Browns and the NFL, and capital improvements from the district.
“Research studies show student participation in after-school programs improve their school attendance and have lower dropout rates,” JW Johnson, Cleveland Browns' vice president, said. “I think it's paramount for our community and our country that our students continue to get an outstanding education and continue to be great student athletes.”
This 4,000 seat stadium will house the next generation of football players. However, the site also carries with it a little history. It was once home to the Cleveland Rams, now the Los Angeles Rams, and the Cleveland Browns practiced there in the 1960s and 70s.
What a difference 5 months can make -- here's @ShawCardinals Shaw Stadium in April (when @NFL @nflcommish @Browns attended groundbreaking) vs. today. Homecoming set for Friday -- the first home game for East Cleveland in two years. pic.twitter.com/x9wgQY0e3J— Clay LePard (@ClayLePard) September 21, 2021
“It’s an exciting time for the city of East Cleveland,” said East Cleveland Superintendent Dr. Henry Pettiegrew. “Almost 100 years before we had a new field. We’ve not played a home game in East Cleveland in two years. So this is a reunion and homecoming of sorts, bringing back that Shaw pride.”
Among those in attendance today was Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II.
“To have a field like this, and play more than one sport on this field is going to be amazing,” Newsome said. “I just challenge you all to have fun and enjoy it.”
In April, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam and Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski were on hand for the groundbreaking.
“I can’t wait to see this field next year,” Goodell said at the time.
For students stepping onto this oasis of inspiration for the first time, their excitement echoed throughout the stadium.
“We had that old field for a long time,” high school junior De’lon Bush said. “Feels great.”
“You see these guys, this is what it’s all about,” Head Coach Reggie Smith said. “I played at Shaw, I remember playing at this stadium, I would love to play here.”
Shaw Stadium becomes the 10th turf field installed since the Browns kicked off a two-year project at five Northeast Ohio high schools five years ago.
Roye Kidd field, James F Rhodes Field, Robert Bump Taylor Field, John Adams High and John Marshall High are among other schools to receive a new turf field as part of the project.
High-quality synthetic turf fields were installed at George Daniel Field in Lorain and Roy C Start High School in Toledo in 2018, as well as at Boys and Girls Club Hope of Northeastern Ohio and Ellet High in 2019.
Later this week, the team has an event at Akron Archbishop Hoban, which will become the 11th field to get an update.
Homecoming at Shaw Stadium is set for Friday at 7 p.m. against Bedford.