10/21/15 Eastern Alamance field house fundraising update

Eastern Alamance field house fundraising update
By Charlie Pogacar, Staff Writer, The Mebane Enterprise 10/21/15  
Reprinted with permission.      

Donation/ naming opportunities for EA field house
• Brick paver- 6”x9”- $200
• Eagle board recognition- $250
• Named Locker- $1,000
• Permanent plaque- $2,500
• Outside Patio- $25,000
• Hallway- $25,000
• Training Room- $25,000
• Coaches Locker Room- $25,000
• Coaches Office- $25,000
• Classroom- $50,000
• Weight Room- $100,000
• Locker Room 1- $100,000
• Locker Room 2- $100,000
• The Building- $375,000

There are 130 football players on Eastern Alamance’s football team and the current locker room holds about 40. That’s why Eastern Alamance High School has resorted to having kids dress in a mobile home with no running water, heat, or air conditioning.

To accommodate five thousand fans – the approximate amount that showed up to Eastern Alamance High School on Friday, Oct. 9 for the riveting homecoming contest against Western Alamance – Eastern Alamance only has out-of-date bathrooms that have as few as two working toilets at a time to offer.

“We feel like it’s kind of a disgrace” and a poor representation of the community, fundraising board member Tal Jobe said. Jobe also noted that he knows females who plan ahead so as not to have to use the bathrooms at Eastern Alamance High School games.

For one and a half years now, a dedicated group of community members have been trying to raise $750,000 for a new field house that would sit close to the high school’s tennis courts and accommodate athletes, coaches, and spectators for every one of the 23 varsity sports offered by the school.

“Our student athletes deserve the best,” athletic director John Kirby said during an informational meeting in the school’s auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 13. “Our athletes excel not only on the fields but in the classroom too.”

In 1964, two years after the current Eastern Alamance High School building was opened, what would later be named Fred Brady Stadium was completed. Thirteen years later, in 1977, the Caison-Dover locker room building was built with the help of many people in the Mebane community. That building served the needs of 60 football players (varsity and junior varsity combined), provided a weightlifting room for students, a washer and dryer area for uniforms, and restrooms or the public. But in 1994 the building was knocked down to make room for the auxiliary gym that still stands today. Back then, Coach Kirby had just 22 players on the varsity team and the locker rooms inside the gym were suitable. Now he has 70, and the kids have been dressing in the mobile home for the past six years.

“Public restrooms and a place for kids to dress are our top priorities,” Kirby said. “This is not a football field house,” he was quick to add, “this is for all of our students and student-athletes.”

Though the informational meeting was sparsely-attended and the project has raised just $57,000 – or less than 8% of the stated goal – the leadership group vowed to not be discouraged and still hopes to break ground in 2016.

“We believe that people will come through,” board member Tal Jobe said, noting many of the companies that have already pledged large donations: Glen Raven Mills ($10,000), VFW Post 1920 ($2,500), American Legion Post #75 ($2,500), GKN Driveline ($2,500).

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 Jobe got a letter from the state which declared the fundraising operation is now officially a 501(c) non-profit and that all donations to the fieldhouse will be tax deductible. This makes board members hopeful people will be more prone to donating toward the end of the year in order to use money that would otherwise go to Uncle Sam.

“Years ago Mebane was a small town, but the manufacturing part of Mebane was local people, people who lived here: Kingsdown, Craftique, White Furniture Company, Mebane Lumber Company, you could walk in and talk to a Mebane person and they supported the school,” Jobe said. “But now, you walk in and the main office of a particular business.... and they might live in Chapel Hill, the managers of the stores, so they don’t have a tie-in to the community and that really makes it harder to get the big donations.”

Varsity football defensive coordinator Patrick Stokes urged people at the meeting to spread the word verbally, and to “be ambassadors” in regard to this fundraising campaign, and stressed the long-term reach of this project.

“This is an opportunity to leave a legacy in the 27302 zip code,” Stokes said. “It won’t just be for the middle schoolers or the kindergarteners, maybe one day your grandkids will enjoy this.”

The board is hoping to rally support for a future meeting at the auditorium next month and hopes to see more people in the seats and more money in the bank.

One way to contribute to the cause is by buying a $5 raffle ticket at Mebane Tire at 400 West Center St., Mebane, that will win one lucky person a $500 credit on a brand new set of tires. Tickets will also be available at all home football games, JV or varsity, throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. This is in addition to the Yeti cooler raffle that is also ongoing to benefit the field house.

Tickets are also available at home football games.

For more information on how to contribute, potential donors are encouraged to contact Tal Jobe at (336) 908-0506.