State-of-the-art facilities to replace port-a-potties at Greencastle-Antrim's Kaley Field
The Greencastle-Antrim School District's Kaley Field is a beautiful facility surrounded by all the school buildings on one campus, according to Vernon McCauley, president of the board of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation.
But for six years, blue port-a-potties just outside the stadium have been the first impression of Greencastle for many people, he continued.
Those attending sports or events like the Relay for Life or Old Home Week festivities have had to use portable toilets since the fall of 2015 due to sewer line problems in the block house.
Like many things, GAEF's plans to construct a building to house the ticket booth, restrooms and concession stand were sidelined last year by COVID-19.
The project is back on track with earth-moving to begin soon, a ceremonial ground-breaking ceremony on April 21 and completion before the fall sports season.
"It's amazingly gratifying," said McCauley, who co-chairs the project with Jeff Shank.
McCauley credits John McDowell Jr., a GAEF board member and G-AHS graduate, with recognizing the shortcomings of the blockhouse at the stadium years ago.
GAEF, a non-profit organization established in 1997 that helps supplement athletics, education and the arts beyond the school district budget, got the ball rolling on the project in the summer of 2019.
When it is finished, GAEF will "turn the keys over to the school district," McCauley explained.
The district will get a 78-by-40-foot building of nearly 3,000 square feet built by Eagle Construction.
In addition to portable toilets, the current concession stand is in a makeshift building. The replacements for both are state-of-the-art.
The restrooms will feature touch-free toilets, faucets and hand dryers and will be "as sanitary as sanitary can be," McCauley said.
GAEF is working with Johnnies Restaurant Supply on the layout, design and equipment for the concession stand. Although there will be a new concession stand on the home side, the Greencastle-Antrim Band Boosters will still run Forney's Food Shack on the visitors side of the stadium. It is named in honor of the late Sam Forney, long-time G-A high school band director.
The project also includes a new ticket booth and enhanced flag court area.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the ground-breaking is a small event.
When the project is complete, "we hope the world will be different and we can have a big ribbon-cutting," said Dana Given, executive director of GAEF.
Funding the project
"Had it not been for COVID, it would have been operational and functional," McCauley said. "But if not for COVID, we wouldn't have raised so much money."
"The added time allowed for additional funding opportunities," said Garon Gembe, immediate past president of the GAEF board.
Despite the pandemic, local businesses have been generous. So far, the $600,000 project has received $487,000 in cash and pledges, including $50,000 or more from F&M Trust, Sunnyway Foods and the Martin family, Antrim Way Honda and the Weaver family and Antrim Insurance Agency. Other business donors are welcome to join the list, according to Dana Given, GAEF executive director.
In addition, the Daddy-Daughter Dance, GAEF's signature fundraiser, is back this year after being canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. The outdoor evening is planned Friday, May 21, at Tayamentasachta, the G-A School District's environmental center. The rain date is Saturday, May 22. Details about the popular evening, including ticket information, will be announced soon.
Back in town
Given is the new point person for GAEF, but her name is familiar to many in the Greencastle-Antrim community. She served as executive director of the chamber of commerce for 6 1/2 years before moving to Nashville, Tenn., more than 15 years ago so her two sons could spend more time with their father.
She spent 10 years as president and CEO of United Way of Sumner County, Tenn., raising more than $8.4 million during her tenure. The unexpected opportunity to manage beach properties took her to Gulf Shores, Ala., in 2018.
"The past three years, I was the executive business manager, for Susan's Sand Castles on the Fort Morgan Peninsula of Gulf Shores, Ala. I managed their three luxury beachfront vacation rental homes, did the accounting and marketing," Given said. "It was wonderful living and working in summer clothes year-round and helping people plan their dream beach vacations and weddings.
"When I came to Greencastle for a wedding in October and spent time with family and friends, the tug of coming back home was overwhelming," she continued. "The COVID-restrictive year, if nothing else, showed me that personal relationships are to be cherished and not taken for granted. Ever since I first moved to Greencastle many years ago, I wanted it to be my hometown: the people, the rich traditions and the community events are like nowhere I've ever visited or lived.
"I am thrilled to have been chosen to be the new executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation and work with such an amazing and dedicated board of directors,"said Given, whose appointment was effective March 1.
To learn more
For more information about GAEF and the Kaley Field project, email gaefonline.org or visit www.gaefonline.org
Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 623, Greencastle, PA 17225