Dobson assistant principal Dr. Ray Perkins discovered an opportunity late last year and seized it. Not for himself, but for the school he presides over as athletic director and its students.
That opportunity was a grant -- the Neighborhood Heroes Program -- offered by the Arizona Cardinals and Walmar. If accepted it would be used to overhaul playing surfaces Dobson athletes traverse daily -- namely its football field and basketball court.
"I wrote a field restoration grant which they were offering open to former players and ended up receiving it," Perkins, who played in the NFL and CFL in the late 1980s, said. "It's nearly complete. It's a victory for Dobson, and a victory for Mesa."
Perkins appiled for the grant last December and learned two months later the grant was coming Dobson's way. Replacing a football field or bringing on a new gym floor expensive. With budget cutbacks in education it's hard to get the funding needed for such projects. The new field not only helps the school, but is a draw to youth athletic programs around the Dobson area.
The new gym floor, taken from a template used by the University of Kentucky, was installed over the summer and stands out with a giant D at center court. The football field was installed just a week ago. It's a tad bigger than redoing one's front or back yard. It's bermuda turf, not the more lucrative field turf that adorns a handful of schools around the Valley. But the new field gives Dobson a fresh look its football and soccer programs hope to give credence to in the near future. The final piece to the project is a new scoreboard that will replace the old one at the west end of Mustang Stadium.
Perkins said Dobson has set its football season opener -- Aug. 30 vs. Mesa High -- as its Field Dedication Day. Among those expected to be on handthat night are Arizona Cardinals team president Michael Bidwell, a representative of the mayor's office, Big Red (Cardinals mascot) and the Arizona Cardinal Cheerleaders.