It’s a Friday night in mid September. The air is cold and crisp. Students, teachers, parents and community members gather under bright lights to watch the girl’s soccer team play their first game. However, unlike games in years past, this one is unique. This is the first time that students, teachers, parents, and community members would gather under the lights of the new facilities at Oyster River High School.
The first games on the new track and field were on September 12th, allowing members of the community to come and witness all the hard work that has been put into creating it. The track has been highly anticipated by the Oyster River community for months on end and now that it is finished, the community is ecstatic. However, there are some things missing from it.
The original fundraising proposal for the new track and fields only included enough money for the track and the fields. People trying to pass the article for the new track knew that community members might not vote ‘yes’ if it was too expensive, so they left out some less important factors such as stands. However, fundraising for new stands has been well under way since the track project was started. Around 100,000 dollars has been raised and is going towards stands, sod for the baseball and softball fields, a scoreboard, and dugouts. The funds are being raised by the Oyster River community through numerous donations, allowing for some of the projects to already be completed.
Many students and community members have anticipated new stands, as the bleacher system now does not fit nearly everyone at games. “Having the stands in place is a great opportunity for the school to host state meets for track, events to hold the whole community, and so on. It would bring a home feel to the field and fans—a way we can all be together as a community as one,” says Superfan Connor Grady (‘17).
Fundraising has been completed for the sod, also known as the turf, to cover the non-stadium fields. The funds have also been raised for a new scoreboard. The sodding cost 55,000 dollars and the new scoreboard, which was put up on September 28th, cost 36,000 dollars. “The sod for the baseball and the softball field actually makes it so that we are able to use that field a year earlier,” says Athletic Director at ORHS Corey Parker. This means that baseball and softball teams could practice on the new fields beginning in April.
Parker encourages people to donate in order to raise money for the stands and the dugout. You can donate through the community’s ‘Brick by Brick’ campaign in which you can purchase a brick for $250 that will be engraved with what the donor chooses. “We are working with landcare to design an area to showcase appreciation for anyone that wants to donate,” said Parker. Larger bricks can also be purchased for $1000. You can also donate through a go-fund-me page found www.orbobcats.com, where any amount of money is accepted.
Fundraising has been slow throughout the summer as expected but according to Parker, “Now that school has started we are in a much better place. Our goal is to have a really successful fall in fundraising.”
The bleachers take around six weeks to set up so it is hoped that the fundraising for them will have been completed by the beginning of 2017, so they will be ready for the Spring sports season. The dugouts are being fundraised a little differently than the bleachers, donors have already contributed metal roofs and grout for the foundation.
The new track has been a huge success in the Oyster River community. The project has been ongoing for a while and now only a few more steps are needed in order to complete it. “I think we are now at a point where we are really proud of the project. The bleachers really finish the project so that is certainly our main goal,” said Parker.
Written by Lydia Concannan