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Citicorp contributes $100,000 to stadium

February 19, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A fund-raising effort for a stadium at North Hagerstown High School got a boost Friday with a $100,000 donation from Citicorp Credit Services north of Hagerstown. So far, $1.4 million has been pledged toward the $2.3 million cash goal, said John Williamson, chairman of the stadium committee of North High Boosters Club Inc., the nonprofit organization that raises money to support athletic activities. Williamson said fund raising for the stadium is a cooperative effort of the athletic boosters and band boosters. "Citicorp has been a great community supporter for Washington County and we are thrilled that they have embraced this project and understand the importance of it for the community and thrilled that we have them helping us," Williamson said. Citicorp's donation is earmarked for the stadium's lighting, according to a news release posted at www.mikecallasstadium.com. The stadium would be named after the late Mike Callas, a local businessman and philanthropist. Citicorp spokesman Phil Kelly said the local operation donated the money toward the project "because we usually participate in large community projects like this because we feel we should." "We want to be a major contributor to the community and its projects," Kelly said in a phone interview. "We know that this project will help make our area a better place to live, work and play, and we expect that the stadium will be a true community stadium, hosting youth league and cultural events, band competitions and more," Kelly said in a prepared statement. Officials have said School Stadium, which is at South Hagerstown High School and is used by both schools, is overburdened. There were more than 70 events at School Stadium last year, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Tom Riford has said. Citicorp's donation will be spread over five years, giving $20,000 per year, Kelly said. Kelly said the ability to spread donations to the stadium project over five years ought to make it easier for many people to help. Citicorp is the third donor to contribute $100,000, Williamson said. Jack E. Metzner, president of Conservit Inc. south of Hagerstown, donated $100,000 and James "Rick" Hill, president and owner of Metropolitan Steel Inc. of Frederick, Md., donated $100,000 in materials. More than 300 people have made donations so far, Williamson said. The fund-raising effort is close to entering the community phase, when smaller donations will be sought, he said. Fund-raising officials will visit North High's feeder schools in hopes that the families whose children one day will use the stadium will make donations, he said. The total stadium cost has not been determined, Williamson said. The final architectural drawings are expected to be done around mid-March, Williamson said. The design will be reviewed with the Washington County Board of Education and its approval will be sought. Harry Reynolds, president of Callas Contractors Inc., then will determine the project's cost and approach construction companies that wanted to help with in-kind contributions, Williamson said. Callas Contractors will build the stadium. Williamson said he wants construction of the stadium, on the former driver's education range, to begin this fall.

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