Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Signal Mountain High School Sports Boosters and many enthusiastic parent volunteers have been working hard over the summer to raise funds and complete bathrooms and a concession stand at the school’s stadium before the Eagles’ first home football game Aug. 31.
“We’re trying to get everyone who uses the stadium to pitch in and help as we work hard over the next three weeks to get the stadium finished,” said Sports Boosters outgoing president Rob Philyaw.
The Boosters are holding a communitywide pep rally before the Eagles’ first away game against East Hamilton at the new building Thursday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.
The school’s band, football players, cheerleaders and new administrators will be in attendance at the fundraising event, said Philyaw.
“I think everyone will pitch in and do what’s necessary to get it done,” he said.
The Mountain Education Foundation is managing the funding of the $200,000 project, and MEF Executive Director Mike Taylor said about half the funds necessary have been raised.
“We’re still hoping to raise quite a bit more money,” said Philyaw.
The construction was made possible through several large monetary donations, including $30,000 in discretionary funds from Hamilton County Commissioner Jim Fields as well as large private donations from local residents Keith Dressler and David Adair.
Free and reduced cost materials and labor were also essential to the project, said Philyaw. Eddie Helton Construction oversaw the project free of charge, and Hamilton County Department of Education supplied electricians and plumbers to help complete the project. Andrew Hausler of Derthick Henley & Wilkerson Architects, the architect who designed the school, donated his time to design the building.
“It’s been a real community effort to try to get indoor plumbing in our bathrooms,” said Taylor, adding that the Signal Mountain Stadium Fund is completely separate from MEF’s educational fundraising efforts.
While the project may seem expensive, the bathrooms, which will have 12 women’s and six men’s stalls, will save the Sports Boosters approximately $20,000 per year in portable toilet rental costs, said Taylor.
The bathrooms will also be more sanitary and will help manage crowds at the stadium, which seats 2,200 but often draws crowds of more than 3,000 fans for big games, he said.
“We’ve had some very generous parents and some very generous businesses help get our campus complete, and this is another step in the right direction,” said Taylor. “Much of what is happening with the stadium is parents going out there and working on it; there are groups of parents up there every night with paint brushes and rollers.”
Philyaw said the building currently under construction to house the bathrooms and concessions is the first of several projects the Sports Boosters aim to build in order to complete the stadium. A coaches’ office, trainers’ room and weight room are also in store, as well as a weatherproof storage space to hold sports and field maintenance equipment and locker room facilities for both the Eagles and the visiting team.
“[Right now] there are no facilities for the teams to change,” said Taylor. “Visiting teams change in a tent.”