Volunteers step up for capital campaign steering committee

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
The steering committee for the school district’s athletic complex capital campaign includes, from left: Jim Farley, Linda Farley, Fred Bubeck, Brenda Blair, Dave Spencer, Andrea McCauley, Vern McCauley, Melinda Cordell and Kristy Faulkner. The group will meet Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. at the middle school to come up with a name for the fund drive, among other things.

Superintendent Greg Hoover asked for seven volunteers and nine stood up. He had made his presentation on the purpose of an April 13 meeting, to determine if there was enough community interest to conduct a capital campaign to fund the stadium renovation project.

There was.

About 40 people attended the meeting at the middle school, a week after the Greencastle-Antrim School District school board approved installing two artificial turf fields, resurfacing the track and replacing the stadium lights. Hoover wanted a steering committee to lead the way, since the board had no intention of raising taxes to pay for the improvements.

The residents who agreed to get things started were Jim Farley, Linda Farley, Brenda Blair, Dave Spencer, Kristy Faulkner, Melinda Cordell, Vern McCauley, Fred Bubeck and Andrea McCauley.

Hoover explained that the campaign would have three objectives: to pay off the yearly debt of $200,000 instead of using capital reserves; to pay off the $2.5 million loan; and to maybe fund items on a wish list, which included a new concession stand and restrooms, so the current building could be converted into a blockhouse, a scoreboard, expanded bleachers, ticket gate, and other amenities that would benefit all outdoor and indoor sports. He hoped some things would be covered by in-kind donations.

Hoover’s best guess was that the steering committee should try to raise up to $3 million, with help from 40 or 50 people on subcommittees. The responsibilities would range from gathering pledges to advertising to fundraising activities.

“With the amount of people here, I would guess we can do this,” he said.

The steering committee would be in charge of setting goals, raising the money, and distributing it. The school would not be involved, although personnel would give input as requested, Hoover said.

One initial course of action would be to decide whether to hire a consultant. There were pros and cons to that, as a feasibility study to gauge community support would cost $25,000, and the company would also charge $7,800 a month for services. A two-year contract would run about $200,000. The alternative was for the community to do everything itself.

High school principal Ed Rife said the Tuscarora school district, often referenced for its capital campaign, had hired a company and raised half of its $2 million goal. Then they dropped the consultant, since they hit the slowdown mark on private giving.

Hoover explained that the stadium project would be done by fall, and contrary to the belief by some, the turf fields would not need to be watered or treated with pesticides. The surface was treated with sun repellent and would not get too hot. It was the same as used in Chambersburg and Lower Dauphin and everything would be completed by the fall season.

Bubeck had already compiled a list of possibile activities and said, “Some of these are unique and some have been done before. Everybody here is committed to raising the money.This seems like a tightknit community. If it can be organized, I think we’ll do pretty well.”

Lanny Carbaugh mentioned that the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library was also in the middle of a campaign, to which Hoover responded that each would probably appeal to people with different points of interest. He also knew businesses would be hit by everyone.

Jim Farley was the first to stand and volunteer.

“Who’s willing to join me?” he asked. “Everyone in here has talent. I have no experience in this, but I’m willing to learn.”

Ben Thomas Jr. offered to share his expertise from working on two successful campaigns in the past. Hoover thanked everyone for coming and said he expected the whole experience to be wonderful.

“You are an outside organization, not school-affiliated,” he joked, “but yeah, we’ll take your money.”

Citizens and school personnel attended a meeting to determine whether there was enough community interest to conduct a capital campaign for the athletic complex improvements. When the school board approved the project before a crowd of 300, people both for and against it asked that it be paid for through private resources.