Naming rights figure into stadium funding

May 19, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

For a $1 million donation, you can have a stadium proposed for North Hagerstown High School named after you under a fund-raising strategy explained to the Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday.

The North High Boosters Club believes that selling naming rights for the stadium and its components can help raise the $2.3 million estimated cost of the facility, said John Williamson, chairman of the North High Boosters Club's Stadium Executive Committee.

For 46 years, North High has used School Stadium at South Hagerstown High School because it does not have a stadium of its own, Williamson told the school board.


The boosters club realizes the Washington County Board of Education does not have the money to pay for construction of a much-needed stadium, he said.

"If we are going to wait for public money we could be waiting for another 50 years," Williamson said.

Instead, the booster club will raise the money for the stadium from private sources, Williamson said.

In March, at the group's request, the school board revised its policy on the naming of school facilities. Under the old policy, the naming of facilities was limited to geographical areas and names of historic places.

The revision would permit the granting of naming rights for schools and facilities donated or paid for with private donations.

The boosters club appreciates the change and respects that the board has the final say on the naming of any facility, Williamson said.

Williamson said he believes some local families will be interested in paying for naming rights.

The group would not allow the stadium to be named after a beer company, for example, because that would be inappropriate, he said.

Williamson said he is "cautiously optimistic" the group can raise the money.

"We are enthusiastically eager to get this project going," North High Principal Robert T. "Bo" Myers told the board.

A feasibility study determined there would be private financial support for a stadium, Williamson said.

A written "case statement" for the capital campaign, provided to the board, said the stadium at South High was built to serve two sports, football in the fall and track in the spring.

While designed to host a maximum of 15 events per year, there were about 60 events there in 2003, the document said.

"There is clearly a need for an athletic stadium on the North High campus," Williamson said.

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