Hospital donates $100,000 to West Jeff school facility

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Richard Dickerson (center), project organizer for the Roughrider Optimization Center, accepts a donation of $100,000 from Cindy Stout (left) and Dana Engle of Madison Health.

(Posted Sept. 14, 2021)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Jefferson Local Schools’ Roughrider Optimization Center (ROC) is another step closer to completion thanks to a $100,000 donation from Madison Health.

The ROC is a 120×160-foot open-span steel building located behind the varsity baseball field. When finished, it will provide year-round practice space for athletic teams and the marching band, as well as space for large school projects.

“I am proud I am able to live in a community where a project like this is possible,” said businessman and project organizer Richard Dickerson. “This large indoor space started out as a project of few and turned into a project of many.”

The project’s fundraising campaign kicked off in 2019 with a $100,000 commitment from the Dickerson family. The Madison Health donation, payable in five $20,000 annual installments, will help to complete the ROC. To date, the building’s floor, walls and ceiling are done. Yet to be finished are internal items, including the heating system, gas line and fire suppression system.

The exterior of the new Roughrider Optimization Center (ROC), shown in the foreground, is complete. Next up is work on the interior. The building will serve as an indoor practice space for West Jefferson’s athletic teams and marching bands, as well as a space for large school projects.

“Without the donation of Madison Health, finishing this building would not be possible,” Dickerson said. “On behalf of the West Jefferson athletic boosters, thank you. This is an investment that will pay dividends long into the future.”

Dickerson accepted the donation on behalf of the West Jefferson Athletic Association during a check presentation on Sept. 13. Dana Engle, Madison Health CEO, and Cindy Stout, vice president of marketing, said it makes sense to build a facility like the ROC.

“We take pride in being able to help fund communities throughout our area,” Engle said.

The $500,000 project is funded entirely by donations which are handled through the athletic association. The facility will relieve some of the extracurricular use of existing facilities.

“Hopefully, it will be completed this school year,” said William Mullett, Jefferson Local Schools superintendent.

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