$100,000 donated toward practice complex at West Jeff Schools

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(Posted Dec. 11, 2019)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

A $100,000 donation from a local businessman will go a long way in providing a practice complex for Jefferson Local Schools athletic teams to use during inclement weather and when space is at a premium.

At the Dec. 9 school board meeting, Superintendent William Mullett said Dick Dickerson approached the school district and athletic boosters with the idea of building a 1,920-square-foot fieldhouse-style building and followed up with his pledge of financial support.

“He’s a great community member and a successful businessman,” Mullett said. “What inspired him was the great experience his own kids had in school, and he wanted to give back.”

According to board President Dave Harper, the proposed outbuilding would be located near centerfield of the baseball complex and be big enough to accommodate teams and groups like soccer, football, cheerleading and band.

Harper said Dickerson asked the athletic boosters for their support and partnership in the endeavor. Harper estimates the building will cost $500,000.

“They’re going to use artificial turf salvaged from another field to keep costs down,” he said. “This will really help relieve some of the extracurricular use of our present facilities like the gym.”

Mullett said the facility won’t contain lockers, restrooms or air conditioning. It will be heated to 50 degrees by a portable system. Mullett characterized the structure as “spartan”–simple. He emphasized that the building will be entirely funded through donations.

“This is being done without any school board funding. It’s all through donations,” Mullett said. “We’ll put together a small group for fundraising. The athletic boosters have pledged their support and will be acting as the contact organization.

“Since it’s being built on school property, our facilities person, Bob Hiss, will have input, and we still have to obtain all of the proper permits.”

Board member Jerry Doran said organizers have already received commitments from local businesses.

“Probably some of the work already committed will take another $100,000 off the cost, as well,” Doran reported.

He added that Dickerson made it clear to him that he wanted no school money spent on the project.

“We pay bus drivers and have fuel costs, as well, to send kids to Bo Jackson (an indoor athletic facility),” Doran said. “This allows us to reduce scheduling conflicts, as well, and it will save the district a lot of money.”

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