Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Kings fund drive progresses

Schools seek nearly $5 million for sports facilities

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — An independent commission for Kings Local Schools has secured 20 percent of the $2.5 million in private donations needed for the first phase of an athletic facilities project.

        Fund-raisers are seeking donations from businesses, alumni and other community members for the nearly $5 million, three-phase project. The athletic facility commission is also working on partnering with a medical corporation, possibly a hospital, for a fitness/wellness facility, said commission chairman Nick Bauer. Construction could begin as soon as November.

    Phase I (estimated at $2.5 million):
    • An eight-lane track.
    • A stadium entrance with archway.
    • A commons area with a new ticket booth.
    • An extended press box.
    • Discus and shot-put area.
    • Upgrade of scoreboard.
    • Home-side grandstands for 2,500 spectators.
    • Visitor grandstands for 1,300 spectators.
    • Construction of a multipurpose complex including regional fitness center, a multipurpose room with raised ceiling, restrooms, state-of-the-art concession areas, coaches' offices with meeting space, oversized locker rooms for men and women, a fitness and weight room area.
    Phase II (estimated at $1.5 million):
    • Renovation to the baseball stadium to consist of new dugouts, new multilevel press box with concession area, stadium lights.
    • A new soccer stadium to consist of a regulation field with irrigation, stadium lights, permanent bleachers, press box with filming tower.
    Phase III (estimated at $750,000):
    • Five additional tennis courts.
    • Renovations to the softball stadium, including new dugouts, a press box and stadium lights.
        The project consists of renovations to the football stadium and track, new grandstands, development of a regulation soccer field, stadium lights and new press boxes at both stadium complexes,

        The school district yielded to a volunteer athletic facilities commission 18 months ago to raise money for the project instead of seeking money from taxpayers. The project might not get done otherwise, Superintendent Dave Query has said.

        “I think this is a strong indication of our willingness to find other ways to fund projects with the schools,” Mr. Query said Tuesday.

        Voters in March 1999 approved a $23.5 million bond issue to build and renovate schools, and in 2000 passed a permanent improvement levy that would raise $1 million annually for five years.

        The school district is considering asking taxpayers to renew an operating levy in November. If board members opt for a 5.9-mill operating levy, an owner of a house valued at $100,000 would pay $181 per year in newproperty taxes.

        But the need for new athletic facilities is keen, said district athletic director Gregg Darbyshire.

        The football field averages 73 events in the fall, including football, soccer and band practices, and presentations, Mr. Darbyshire said.

        New home and visitors grandstands would be added to the football field as part of phase one, Mr. Darbyshire said, adding that the stands would more than double the capacity to 3,800.

        Those interested in donating or volunteering for the fund-raising group should call the Kings district office at 398-8050, Ext. 10020.


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