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Boosters gives North stadium drive a boost

September 13, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Though the official start to fund-raising efforts for a new stadium at North Hagerstown High School is not set to begin for nearly a month, a six-figure donation to help make it a reality was made last week.

It is the second large donation in less than one month.

James "Rick" Hill has donated $100,000 in materials for the construction of the new athletic facility there, according to a North Hagerstown High School news release.

Principal Robert "Bo" Myers said Hill, president and owner of Metropolitan Steel Inc. of Frederick, Md., is the father of two North Hagerstown High School students - James Hill III, a ninth-grader, and Ashley Hill, a sophomore.

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Rick Hill also is a member of the North High Boosters Club Inc., Myers said.

Myers said the official capital campaign is scheduled to begin at a boosters club dinner/meeting on Oct. 6. He said the early donation, as well as a $100,000 donation from Conservit Inc. in August, likely will translate into more rapid success when the campaign is officially under way.

"It's a tremendous help. Everyone wants to see the first person do their thing," Myers said. "It lets us know that if there's one in the community, there's 10 that have the ability to help this project."

The booster club is eyeing a fall 2005 groundbreaking for the project, which is expected to cost at least $2.3 million. The club is hoping for a fall 2006 opening game there, Myers said.

He said at least half of the total cost needs to be raised before construction begins.

The stadium is slated to include a lighted athletic field, a track, bleachers, a press box and athletic offices. At the request of the booster club's stadium executive committee, the Washington County Board of Education voted to name the facility after the late Mike Callas. Callas, a Hagerstown businessman and philanthropist, died on May 31, just days after he was named an honorary co-chairman of the stadium capital campaign.

North High has used South Hagerstown High School's stadium for nearly five decades because it does not have a stadium of its own.

Hill could not be reached for comment about the donation Sunday.

In the North High press release, Hill states he believes the school has operated without a stadium for long enough.

"For our children's sake, we owe it to them to build them their own facility at North Hagerstown High School," Hill says in the release. "As a businessman, I am proud to be part of this endeavor."

Hill also believes it is fitting that the stadium will bear Callas' name, according to the release.

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