By Linda Dillman
The Canal Winchester Athletic Booster Club is embarking on one of the largest endeavors in the history of the organization, a capital campaign funded through community and corporate investment.
During a Jan. 13 presentation to the Canal Winchester Board of Education, Donnie Musick, club vice president and Eric McGhee, fundraising director, said the booster club will work in collaboration with the school district on mutual short and long-term goals and improvements.
“Why are we doing this? Growth,” said Musick. “There are things we need to do in the district to increase capacity.”
While the campaign is in its infancy, sports specific booster clubs were asked to provide input, along with coaching staffs. The athletic booster board then met with the district’s athletic director to discuss the collective input from both groups.
Strategic goals and a path towards the goals were identified. The club then engaged board of education members about opportunities and plans to work collaboratively with the district.
Among the goals listed by Musick was a new $330,000 electronic scoreboard in the football stadium that would create its own revenue stream through advertising/donor opportunities; a half-million dollars in new stadium seating; and turf replacement at $400,000.
“If we can get money from the scoreboard and other opportunities, it’s a way to infuse money into the project,”said Musick in outlining three core ideas of the multi-million dollar endeavor. “What we have isn’t totally broken and if we can save money to renovate existing facilities and get more bang for our buck, that’s something we definitely want to do.”
Musick said the club and its stakeholders are looking at first phase projects that will have immediate impact on student athletes and get people in the community enthused about the capital campaign.
“There are a lot of exciting things happening in Canal and we feel this is the time we can capitalize on that,” Musick said, while pointing out that tax advantages for non-profits are at an all-time high.
In addition, the concept also includes a quarter-million-dollar in weight room renovations; a new concession stand and lockers on the visitor’s side of the stadium estimated at $250,000; a new $100,000 press box; $125,000 for baseball/softball seating and press box; and $75,000 to resurface the track.
Musick is hopeful that plans could eventually include an electronic sports practice facility and a soccer specific turf facility.
The total price tag is estimated at more than $2 million.
Earmarked as immediate/impactful projects is lighting for the middle school stadium, baseball, softball and tennis. The improvements could add capacity and function to all of the facilities by adding operational hours for practices and games.
According to Musick, a cage facility for baseball and softball “would not only dramatically improve performance by drastically improving training opportunities, it would create more capacity in district gyms.”
Stakeholders also told the booster organization they felt the middle school
campus is the place where the most ‘new’ investment needs to happen, such as turfing the field and creating a fieldhouse with locker rooms, restrooms, storage and concessions.
“The big one (idea) that actually was kind of the genesis was the scoreboard,” said Musick, who estimated over the 10-year life of the device, it would generate $2.1 million in revenue. “We’re moving forward with this project as a booster club and wanted to make sure the board was aware.”
The athletic boosters are in the process of creating a development team of community members. Musick said the goal is to get $2 million donated by corporations and organizations to pay for projects, starting with the stadium video scoreboard.
“Obviously, we don’t expect to generate $2 million in one year,” Musick said. “It’s a really large project. We’re looking for people who want to be a part of the team.”