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Suh's family helps dedicate new Grant turf field

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - NFL star Ndamukong Suh will be part of a ceremony Friday afternoon to dedicate the new turf field at Grant High School, his alma mater. Suh helped raise money for the new field.The mother of Detroit Lions star Ndamukong Suh will help celebrate the opening of Grant High School's new turf athletic field Friday afternoon.

(Editor's note: An early version of this story incorrectly said NFL player Ndamukong Suh would attend the ceremony.)

The Class of 2005 Grant alumnus and the Ndamukong Suh Family Foundation were a key part of the fundraising for the project, 12 years in the making. Suh's foundation contributed $250,000, the final piece to help get construction underway.

"It has been extremely satisfying to have the opportunity to help our sports programs compete at a true home field,” Suh said in a statement. “It’s something we have all wanted for a very long time."

Suh's mother, Bernadette Suh, will be on hand Friday to help dedicate the new field. A celebration is set for Friday for Grant's homecoming game against the Barlow Bears.

Other funds were raised by the nonprofit Friends of Grant Athletics, which took in more than $437,000 from neighbors, school teams, foundations, grants and businesses for the project during the past 12 years. Nike also contributed $350,000.

The Grant Field and Track project is part of a city-wide effort called Places for Sport, which provides safe, quality fields and tracks at all Portland Public Schools high schools.

So far the city, Nike PPS, and community volunteers have built year-round turf fields and tracks at Benson, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Cleveland and now Grant.

The new synthetic track was being striped this week, and expected to open to the public and for competition within a few weeks. The old track had been in such poor condition that it was deemed unsafe for competitive use.

Taking part in the ceremony will be City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish, NIKE’s Elliott Hill and Tinker Hatfield, PPS Superintendent Carole Smith, Grant High Principal Carol Campbell, Friends of Grant Athletics, Grant student athletes and the Grant band, the Royal Blues.

The celebration begins at 3:15 p.m. at the school, 2245 N.E. 36th Ave. The homecoming game will follow.

City officials laud the project as an example of private and public partners coming together.

“Every partner came together to close the gap in funding this project," says Superintendent Smith. "We are so fortunate to have the kindness and generosity of Ndamukong, who began his path to the NFL on this field and has now helped ensure that other Grant athletes have access to one of the best facilities in our city. What a great gift and lesson to all of us — the importance of our communities and giving back when we can, in whatever way we can.”