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Track project just the start for James Buchanan Sports group

July 14, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

The James Buchanan Athletic Boosters Association broke ground Monday on a new James Buchanan High School track, the first phase of a $3.4 million athletic makeover it hopes to finance through community generosity.

Members of the association formed a committee called Fix JB Sports in late 2008 to raise money for the project after voters denied the Tuscarora School Board's proposal for a $35 million renovation at the high school.

Replacing the decaying cinder track with a new, $400,000 rubberized track moved to the top of the committee's list only recently, said Committee Co-Chairwoman Marianne Quinn.

Quinn said the committee was advised that $100,000 in grants secured by former state Sen. Terry Punt were about to expire.

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The track is one of four athletic facilities the committee hopes to renovate, Quinn said.

Fix JB Sports also hopes to repair the high school pool, tennis courts and stadium.

To finance the total $3.4 million project, the committee plans to kick off a capital campaign in the fall, Consultant Nancy Saidis, principal of The NCS Group Ltd., told the school board Monday night.

Saidis said her firm is in the first month of a three-month financial feasibility study of the project.

Through a series of interviews and surveys, in the coming months her firm will gauge potential community involvement in the capital campaign, including identifying key donors, she said.

"We will ask if this is feasible and if we are told, 'no,' we will ask why it is not feasible," she said. "We will also work with the community to educate individuals on why this project is important."

Fixing James Buchanan sports facilities is a community project, Saidis said.

There will be opportunities to be involved in the capital campaign at every level, from major donors naming select areas in honor of loved ones to school groups raising money through small fundraisers, she said.

While the committee has yet to kick off its fundraising, Quinn said it should complete the track by the start of school in August.

Fix JB Sports was able to expedite the track project with the help of the school board.

The board voted in May to split the remaining project cost with Fix JB Sports and pay the committee's portion upfront until the capital campaign begins yielding results.

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