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Greencastle-Antrim High School gets upgraded sports, arts facilities

July 07, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Rob Smith of Sunrise Electronics in Chambersburg, Pa., listens Thursday to the new sound system replacing 30-year-old speakers in the Greencastle Antrim High School gym.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — It might be summer, but the Greencastle-Antrim High School is digging into a $2.5 million athletic complex renovation and wrapping up two smaller projects inside the school.

On Thursday, heavy equipment rolled over mounds of dirt behind the high school, preparing the area for artificial turf to be installed on Kaley Field and North Field, and a resurfaced track and lighting improvements.

Renovations to the athletic complex are slated for completion Aug. 15. The first day of school is Aug. 29, according to school officials.

Not only is work being done outside the high school, but projects are being completed inside the building, Principal Edward Rife said

He said generous contributions by the community have enabled the school to install new stage lighting in the auditorium and replace a 30-year-old sound system with a new one in the gymnasium.

“I feel blessed to be part of a school district that, in this time of tight budgets, that during the summer there are so many things happening in the school right now … because of a supportive community, and that’s a blessing. There’s not a lot of school districts around that can say those same things right now,” Rife said.

G-A MAAX (Greencastle-Antrim Maximizing Arts And Athletic X-cellence) kicked off a $2.5 million capital campaign to reimburse the money the school district is paying for renovations to the athletic complex.

Greencastle’s Director of Athletics Vicki Ritchey said G-A MAAX is a three-phased campaign.

She said the first phase is to raise the $2.5 million to repay the bond.

“The second phase is wish list fulfillment of a new concession stand, block house area, new press box, bleachers and all of those big-ticket items that we would like to have — but want to take care of what we need to first,” Ritchey said.

“The third phase is establishing an endowment program, so as things need replaced, like when the turf wears and it needs to be replaced in 10 to 15 years, we have the money in an endowment to do that,” she said.

“I think there has been and will continue to be a lot of community pride for our athletic and music programs. I think it just makes a better place for those events to take place,” said  Robert Crider, Greencastle’s director of educational operations.

“It ensures safety for our athletic competitions that we didn’t have before. Within the stadium, there are numerous community activities that take place. It’s open for the community’s use. Relay for Life and some of the other major events that take place there are only going to be improved by an improved stadium,” Crider said.

When the high school needed a new lighting system for the stage, Rife said the Shockey family stepped in to help.

“The lights in the auditorium have had many issues over the years that we have been patch-working and doing the best with things. The middle of last year, we lost them all together and we were working with just the house lights,” he said.

The Paul K. and Anna E. Shockey Family Foundation donated $132,000, the entire amount needed, for the auditorium lighting, Rife said.

“They stepped up and donated, and it was a wonderful blessing and gift to the district,” he said.

Eslinger Lighting Inc. of Enola, Pa., installed the lighting that is scheduled for completion Friday with training scheduled for district staff next week.

“It will be functional by the beginning of the school year,” Rife said.

Sunrise Electronics of Chambersburg installed the approximately $5,000 sound system in the gym, Rife said.

“The (GAHS) PTO made a very sizeable donation of $3,000 that we were blessed to get, and we took that and combined it with a gift from the class of 2010. And the little bit that we were still missing, we had the boys and girls basketball boosters donate money toward it,” Rife said.

In addition, Franklin County Career and Technology Center Director Keith Yohn and welding instructor Timothy Semple donated the metal cages that fit around the system.

Rife said the FCCTC’s donation saved the district hundreds of dollars.

“We have been having sound issues with the speakers. The range didn’t meet certain areas in the corners of the gym. It was very hard to hear, and even what you could hear was muffled,” said Rife.

Ritchey said not having a good sound system detracts from what the district has to offer its children.

“In everything that we’re doing, as far as the improvements, we want to give our kids the best that we can give them; and in return they’re continually giving us their best and their commitment of 100 percent,” Ritchey said. “Those little things add up to a lot to them in the big picture.”

“They were not built into the 2011-2012 school budget. The projects would not have been done had it not been for the kind contributions,” Crider said.

“I do feel that we have the best kids and live in a great community, and this is just an example of the community stepping up for our kids,” said Rife.

He said both the gym and the auditorium are used by the community for various events and activities.

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