Whiteland tops fundraising goal

More than $850,000 has been raised through donations and sponsorships for athletics facilities projects at Whiteland Community High School.

School officials announced $3.55 million in projects to renovate the locker room, install a new track and build a new band practice field last year. They hoped to raise $600,000 to $800,000 for the projects. In about six months, the school district already has exceeded its goal, and about $856,000 has been pledged over the next four years to help pay for this and future construction projects, Superintendent Patrick Spray said.

The school district is not yet announcing the details of all who have pledged money and what, if anything, they are getting in return, such as an advertising agreement.

The projects include upgrading the football field with artificial turf, renovating the locker rooms, adding lanes to the track, buying a new scoreboard, building a larger concession stand and constructing a band practice field.

Since school officials have been able to raise more than they initially estimated, one project that had been trimmed is being added back.

The current football meeting room is being renovated to become an athletics training building. A football meeting room is being added to the existing locker room during that building’s renovation. The remodeled high school athletics training building will allow student athletes of all sports to use it year-round.

The project originally was cut to reduce the cost of the athletics facilities renovation. The training room renovation raises the athletics projects’ price tag from $3.5 million to $3.55 million.

As part of the donations received, one anonymous donor gave nearly $100,000 to the Clark-Pleasant Education Foundation to be used for the sports projects, a local mortgage company promised about $2,000 per month to the school district, and Community Health Network will continue to pay $25,000 per year to be their sole partner for athletics training needs. Spray said the donations and sponsorships that aren’t used in the athletics projects this year will be saved for upgrades for the football stadium or other athletics facilities in the future.

Officials still are working to collect more money, Spray said.

Businesses also can pay to have their logos painted on the football field or purchase advertising space on the new scoreboard, Spray said. Money brought in through those sponsorships will be designated for the athletics department, Spray said.

The projects estimate was initially $3.1 million, with $2 million to be paid with a bond. About $500,000 would be paid from Clark-Pleasant’s construction fund, which is generated from short-term contracts, such as leasing school-owned land to cellphone companies that want to put up towers. Another $600,000 will come from the capital projects fund, which is paid through property taxes.

The projects cost rose to $3.5 million when adding in the contingency fund and money the school could spend from the capital projects fund that wasn’t spent on maintenance projects last year, Spray said.

Work has started on most of the athletics upgrades at the high school. This month, officials added the new training room to the list of projects. Athletes will be able to use the room year-round for football, baseball, cross-country, tennis and track and field, Clark-Pleasant business director Steve Sonntag said.

The $50,000 used to renovate the current football meeting room will double the size of the training space available and add private exam rooms, new lighting and upgraded plumbing. A new training room, where athletes and trainers can meet before and after games to get ankles or knees wrapped or address other medical needs, originally was part of the list of athletics projects but was cut last year to save money. But officials wanted to add the project back in so larger teams could use athletics training space.

The training room renovation was one of the top projects that the district wanted to complete, as long as there was enough money to cover it. The training room will be located in the current football meeting room building, Spray said. The current football meeting room no longer is needed since the newly expanded locker rooms will include a football meeting room.

The high school’s existing training room is not big enough to handle larger team sports, such as football and soccer.

“It’s not just impacting the football and track athletes but also baseball, tennis, cross-country,” Sonntag said.

“There is a smaller training room in the high school itself, but we’ve grown so much that it can’t handle (the growth).”

The new training space will be double the size of the current training room inside the high school, Spray said. The other side of the building is used for a greenhouse and agriculture storage space, which will remain.

The training room inside the high school will still be used for smaller team sports, like basketball, Spray said.

By the numbers

About $3.55 million will be spent on Whiteland Community High School’s athletics project to upgrade the football field, track, locker rooms, concession stands and add a band practice field.

Here’s a look at how the school district will pay for the project:

$2 million: Paid through a general obligation bond

$500,000: From the construction fund, which is money earned from short-term contracts such as leasing land to cellphone companies to use for towers

$600,000: From the capital projects fund, which includes property tax dollars set aside for construction or improvements

$856,000: Donations or scholarships given to the school district*

*Not all donation money will be used in the current renovation. Leftover money will be saved for future athletic facility upgrades or renovations.

At a glance

Here is what the athletic project includes:

Locker room renovations and expansion: $1.3 million

Install artificial turf at the football field: $585,000

Site work, drainage and utilities: $505,000

Resurface and add two lanes to the track: $325,000

Construct band practice field: $135,000

Renovate football meeting room to become athletic training space: $50,000

New scoreboard: $20,000

Source: Clark-Pleasant Community Schools Corp.