Now, Fairfield school officials want to honor those alumni by re-naming the stadium through a $100,000 fund-raising campaign.
The new name will be Fairfield Alumni Stadium, and it bucks a trend of recent years that have seen area public high schools partner with private corporations, exchanging stadium naming rights for sponsors.
Fairfield officials are seeking 100 alumni to donate $1,000 each toward the re-naming goal.
Though the campaign is only a few weeks along, officials said they have already garnered a fifth of their $100,000 goal.
“We’ve been playing football in the same place for 70 years, and it’s an iconic place in our community,” said Mark Harden, athletic director for Fairfield High School.
“It’s the front porch of the community and a gathering place where we all gather on Friday nights to get together. That’s why it was super important for us … to go with the alumni fund for the naming rights for the stadium.”
Fairfield Schools spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher said the 10,000-student district – one of the largest in Southwest Ohio – has long held the stadium as community treasure and not only for prep football.
“Our school district is spread out over 38 miles, but the stadium has been instrumental in bringing together generations from our city and township for sports, music programs, and community fitness,” said Gentry-Fletcher.
Last year the then aging stadium received a $3.3 million renovation, including new and larger grand stand, running track, locker rooms and concession stands.
The Fairfield Indians football team made the state playoffs this year and overall the football program has been on the rise in recent years, having made the playoffs three of the last four seasons.
Fairfield alum Randy Hambrick played football in the mid-1970s and is excited about the grass-roots fundraising effort to honor alumni with the stadium’s renaming.
Among the many reasons Hambrick likes the idea of naming the stadium after alumni is that it differentiates Fairfield from other area schools who named their facilities after corporations or prominent alumni.
“I really didn’t want to see it named after an individual because it belongs to the community,” he said.
VIDEO: See Fairfield High School Athletic Director Mark Harden atop the stadium stands talking about renaming Fairfield Stadium @journal-news.com