School District, Community and Local Businesses Working Together to Fund New Athletic Field Project

Northern York County School District teams with Educational Foundation and local Businesses to help fund new Turf Field

 

The Northern York County School District (NYCSD) needed a turf field to support their extra-curricular and athletic program. The current athletic fields were being overused and were showing significant “wear and tear”. The School District identified the need for a new turf field to resolve these issues and worked with a local engineering firm in 2015 to perform a study to determine the appropriate location and a range of costs for the new field. After reviewing the costs to install the new turf field, it was determined that the project did not fit within the current budget and the School District would have to put the project on hold.

Fast forward several years, and with field conditions continuing to deteriorate the School District decided to re-investigate the possibility of installing a new turf field. In an effort to engage local businesses and passionate community members, the School Board engaged the School District’s educational foundation, the Polar Bear Foundation to help in the fund-raising efforts. The Polar Bear Foundation is Northern York County School District’s Educational Foundation and is a 501©(3) Charitable Organization. The Foundation agreed to support the School District in the fundraising efforts and a Turf Committee was formed between the School District, the School Board, and the Foundation.

A member of the Turf Committee and Foundation is an employee at Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates (CRA), a local Architectural, Planning and Interior Design firm who has significant experience designing Schools, Turf Fields and Stadiums throughout Pennsylvania. CRA also has worked with NYCSD for over twenty years designing multiple new and renovated Schools for the District. The firm has had a long-standing relationship supporting the School District and in fact the firm’s Co-founder Doug Rohrbaugh was one of the founding members of the Polar Bear Foundation. CRA agreed to update and complete a new Study to look at location and costs for the new field. This would be done at no cost to the School District and would be part of the firm’s donation to the project.

The study involved working with the School District and key stakeholders to identify the needs for the new turf field and the best location within the School District. The School District currently utilizes multiple fields for athletic use. Bostic field, the School District’s main field is utilized for Football in the fall and Lacrosse in the Spring. The second main field which has lights and stands is utilized for soccer and field hockey in the fall and middle school soccer in the spring. There are also several practice fields through the Middle and High School campus.

The Study identified the existing Soccer Field as the recommended location for the new turf field. The new field will host soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. It will be upgraded with a new turf field, new lights, new scoreboard, and a new press box. Moving lacrosse away from Bostic Field will reduce overall usage on the field and improve conditions for the Football season.

With the field option determined, the School Board reviewed and greenlighted the Turf Committee to move forward with fundraising for the turf field.

The Turf Committee started looking at businesses that were located within the school district and/or had a working or business relationship with the School District. The committee developed sponsorship levels for Field Naming rights, Scoreboard naming rights and other recognition opportunities. Key donors for the project included Lobar, Inc., Pennsy Supply, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, H&H Services, Remcon, Faulkner Subaru, Rohrer Bus, Ritter Insurance Marketing, Nomis, LLC, Drayer Physical Therapy, NRG, Glenn Sponagle and Central Penn Plumbing.

The School District also engaged the Boosters Clubs of the various athletic teams that would be utilizing the field. In an effort to help offset the cost of the field, each of Booster Clubs committed to a financial goal to donate to the Foundation to support the field over three years.

As part of the fundraising process, the Committee identified the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) as an option to help fund the field. The RACP grant is administered by the Office of the Budget and supports the construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. The Committee worked with Representative Dawn Keefer, retired School District Superintendent, Eric Eshbach to submit the grant application. The application has been submitted and is awaiting final approval and funding. The grant is valued at $1.3 Million.

Between the RACP Grant and fundraising nearly 75% of total funds needed for the project were committed. The School District had engaged with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates to develop the design for the new turf field. The project was bid and local contractor, Lobar, Inc. of Dillsburg was the low bidder. The project is currently under construction and is anticipated to be completed by the end of March and ready for the Spring Sports season.

The project is an example of how School Districts, Educational Foundations and local businesses can come together and support educational needs.

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