EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — With the help of a $200,000 matching grant from the NFL and the Cleveland Browns, Shaw Stadium will undergo renovations.
Shaw Stadium is home to Shaw High School in East Cleveland. The site does carry some significance for the NFL: it was once home to the Cleveland Rams, which now are the Los Angeles Rams. Additionally, the Cleveland Browns used it as a practice field in the 1960s and 1970s.
"This field has been here almost 100 years," East Cleveland Schools Superintendent Dr. Henry Pettiegrew said during the event.
For Shaw High School football coach Bruce Coffey Jr, the restoration couldn't come soon enough.
"We’ve been waiting for years," he said. "Something like this to rejuvenate, to keep the passion. There’s still some good people here in East Cleveland, despite what it looks like, and this is the start of something big. The eyesore we have is gone now. This is definitely going to beautify the community."
Prominent NFL figures were on-hand for the groundbreaking, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, and Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski.
"For Shaw High School, for the Cardinals, for the entire community to have a space here is an amazing testament when people come together," Stefanski said.
"All of us understand how important sports are and to take a field that’s quite frankly run down and be able to get them a great modern field, hopefully gets more kids to play sports and stay active in school," Jimmy Haslam said. "It’s something that excites us and fires us up."
Also in attendance was Shaw High School senior Mya Tomoto, who announced the Browns' first-round pick Thursday night at the NFL Draft.
Tomoto was selected based on her work helping bridge the digital divide by leading a group of students to help distribute computers to students who need them.
For Tomoto, the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind, and her moment on stage is one she'll never forget.
"It was so exciting," she said. "I was like, this is where I was supposed to be. When you look at everyone there, it’s just wow. They kind of feed into you."
Tomoto will attend the University of Akron this fall.
As for Shaw Stadium, it's not clear when renovations will be complete, however, Commissioner Goodell said during the groundbreaking that he hopes he can return next year to see the field.
"It just means so much opportunity for these kids to play and learn from sports," Goodell added.