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Group to ask school board for help with stadium project

June 19, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO - A group raising funds to build team rooms at the Boonsboro High School stadium plans to ask the Washington County Board of Education for $200,000 toward the project.

With the North High School stadium under way, board members said they hope to develop procedures for handling similar requests.

Teams playing at Boonsboro long have needed a place to warm up and strategize between halves, said Dwight Scott, who coached the school's first football squad in 1959. While he said he believed no other school in the county has a team room, Scott said the geography of the Boonsboro campus especially hampers teams playing there.

The distance between the stadium and school locker rooms is a quarter mile to a half mile, and teams often have no time to go inside.

"Now, the other thing is, is it wise to have a football team, which is at least somewhat fatigued from the first half, to walk almost a half-mile uphill to get in a locker room that is not really adequate for 40 football players?" Scott asked.

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In a summary provided by the school system's facilities department, the team rooms' project was budgeted for the 2008 fiscal year at a cost of $200,000. After a discussion at a work session June 12, Facilities Management Director Rodney Turnbough said the listing was "a reminder" about the project. No commitments have been made, he said.

According to a presentation in May, the board contributed $200,000 to the stadium at North High.

Board President W. Edward Forrest said Sunday that the board is exploring the option of setting aside "a pot of money" that would provide grants to groups taking on projects. He said the school system finds a way to balance groups' requests with the school system's needs.

The "$60,000 answer" is how, board member Wayne D. Ridenour said.

"I don't think we can turn our backs on the arts. I don't think we can turn our backs on athletics or any other element that makes a person fully educated," Ridenour said Sunday.

Scott estimated the sale of bricks and highlight videos would raise $53,000 toward the construction of team rooms adjacent to the stadium's ticket booth. To meet the goal of opening the rooms by the football team's 50th-anniversary campaign, the board would need to contribute $200,000, Scott said.

Board Vice President Jacqueline B. Fischer said she believes school groups that want "extras" might have to foot most of the bills themselves because the school system already is stretched to meet growing enrollment, maintenance and academic demands.

"I'm not against the project, but again, with our backlog of maintenance, I would have to think very hard before I put out money for an athletic project in particular," Fischer said.

According to Scott, school groups have funded a variety of projects over the years with minimal help from the board. He said a retired school system mantra, "working together in Washington County," still applies.

"I think if the powers that be can't see their way to fund the $200,000 that we're asking for, then we're probably going to ask for a loan," Scott said.

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