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Stadium was a community effort

December 24, 2006|by JIM BROWN

A thank you to those who contributed to the North Hagerstown High School Stadium project.

Greg Slick: For keeping the dream alive.

Robert "Bo" Myers, Principal: For organizing a winning team.

Valerie Novak, Principal: For working with the stadium through the building process.

John Williamson and Rick Hill: For serving as chairmen of the stadium committee and for providing outstanding leadership. Your guidance has led to the successful completion of the Mike Callas Stadium.

The Stadium Committee: For dedicating your time, energy and talents toward building the Mike Callas Stadium. You are all to be admired for taking the high road when others became negative toward the project. Your satisfaction is in knowing that you are a part of the team responsible for the largest ever private stadium fundraising campaign at any public high school in the state. Still, your greatest legacy will be watching other booster clubs from other schools follow your example to pursue similar projects; this group has shown it can be done.

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The Board of Education of Washington County: For endorsing the project on Oct. 15, 2002, and for allowing all parties, both public and private, to participate fully. The minutes stated, "It was the consensus of the board to endorse the concept including all possible sources of monies for the North Hagerstown High School Athletic Complex plan." The Education Specification for the stadium was issued on Aug. 13, 2003, and stated, "funding sources include local capital improvement money, the possibility of Program Open Space funding for a portion of the work, local "bond bill" initiatives from Washington County's delegation and alumni/athletic booster fundraising"

The Washington County Commissioners: For approving usage of $750,000 of Program Open Space funds to pay for the track and for agreeing to being the financing agent for this project. Your POS contribution guarantees community usage of the track. Policies for public usage of the stadium will be developed by the Board of Education.

The city government of Hagerstown: For contributing $100,000 to the project and for agreeing to being the financing agent for the synthetic turf.

The State of Maryland: For contributing $400,000 for the Mike Callas Stadium project. We are grateful that our state representatives recognized the importance of making this a private-public partnership.

Mike Spinnler and members of the Cumberland Valley Athletic Club: For volunteering to raise more than $50,000 to upgrade the track to meet NCAA and USA standards. Unfortunately, the track surface will not be completed until spring 2007.

Maryland Metals Inc.: For contributing $100,000 toward a state-of-the-art scoreboard that is the largest free-standing scoreboard at any high school in the state of Maryland.

Conservit Inc.: For contributing $250,000 toward a state-of-the-art synthetic grass playing surface, one that can be used seven days a week, every week, for the next 10 to 12 years; this community owes a debt of gratitude to Jack Metzner and Bret Wollaston, two former North Hagerstown High School athletes, for being instrumental in gaining their company's support for this project.

Mike Callas: For agreeing to serve with me as honorary co-chairman of this committee. Mike passed away shortly after our fundraising campaign began. His name has been the driving force, helping to rally our many generous donors.

The Mike Callas Charitable Trust: In addition, we are indebted to his foundation, "The Mike Callas Charitable Trust," for its generous contribution of $500,000.

All private donors: For pledging more than $2.8 million to date. Your generosity has made dreams come true for the students and families of North Hagerstown High School. Finally, after 50 years, they have a stadium on their campus, one that is truly ready for the 21st century.

All in-kind contributors: For providing goods and services valued at more than $700,000. Combined with private donors, you have helped us to raise more than $3.5 million. According to our research, we believe this total is much more than the total raised by any other private group for a public high school project in the state of Maryland.

In conclusion, it is my hope that this column has expressed our appreciation for all those who contributed toward this project.

Also, I sincerely hope this editorial clarifies any misconceptions people may have; it has taken more than three years of dedicated service from a committed group of citizens to achieve this goal.

This committee has reason to be proud of its accomplishment. I know they will be willing to share their experiences with other booster groups that wish to embark upon similar projects.

On behalf of the stadium committee, I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday and a fabulous New Year.

Jim Brown was a physical education teacher and served as assistant football coach and head basketball coach at North Hagerstown High School. He retired from Hagerstown Community College in 2002, where he served as athletic director, director of the ARCC and head men's basketball coach.

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