The following is the eighth and last in a series examining the past, present and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School, offering a timeline in the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the eighth and last in a series examining the past, present and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School, offering a timeline in the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.
“We are where we are, and we need to move on,” Superintendent of Schools Skip Hackworth said recently.
“We can't rely on hindsight. We need to just tackle the problem and get it solved.”
The problem — as it exists today — is that the Mineral County Board of Education had to pitch in a substantial amount of money so Keyser High School could make its second annual $297,000 payment for work already completed at the field.
Since the campaign had only raised $60,000 toward that total payment, almost $240,000 is owed to the board before any additional funds can be committed to further work at the stadium.
The board therefore placed any further work at the facility on hold — except for those items needed to comply with the state fire code.
“The board sees this as the obligation at this point — they feel the board should be reimbursed for the payment we made this year,” Hackworth said.
Board President Kevin Watson was a bit more direct on the subject: “Every amount of money that comes in needs to go directly to paying the bill — no matter how large or small,” he said.
In the meantime, Watson said he met personally with one of the West Virginia State Fire Marshals in the spring and “walked through the complex to come up with a list of every project that needed to be completed in order for fall sports to hold events at the stadium.”
“The fire marshal was not going to permit use of the field house until certain requirements were complied with,” Hackworth explained, noting that the fire marshal had “allowed us some waivers” last year
which allowed limited access to the press box so the field could be used.
“If the field house weren't attached to the pressbox, it wouldn't have been a problem,” he said.
Watson said all the requirements were met “as of Friday, Aug. 19.”
According to Watson, the next step “is for everyone to come together” and help raise the money needed first, to repay the board, and second, to move forward with completion of the field.
Since several of the key participants in the fund raising campaign have said the “big money donors” who had originally been targeted for financial support had not come through for their alma mater, both Hackworth and Watson seem to think the fund raising campaign needs to broaden its scope.
“Knowing the state of our economy, they need to reach out to all possible donors, no matter how small or large the amount of money being contributed,” Watson said.
“We don't all have $50,000 to give, but we can give $5, or $10 — it all goes to buy something,” he said.
Watson also feels very strongly, however, that a simple, straightforward solicitation of donations is best.
“We need to get away from the extravagant fund raisers — no gimmicks, no raffles, no bashes or buying of high dollar items,” he said. “We need the community support of straight donations without overhead costs.”
Hackworth feels that the public's awareness of the need for help has been heightened in recent days.
“”I've had some individuals come forward recently and say, 'We have some ideas,'” he said.
“And there's a lot of alumni at Keyser High School and there's a lot of people who have told me they just want to be asked to help.”
Calling the stadium “a community complex that everybody needs to take ownership and be proud of,” Watson is looking to the future with a positive attitude.
“From Day 1 I have been fully supportive of Keyser High School having something they can call their own,” he said.
“That stadium is going to be there long after the present-day leaders — superintendent, principals, coaches, etc. — are gone, and one day several years from now, when bills are paid and additional projects are completed, this complex could be the best in a hundred-mile radius — or even the entire state of West Virginia.”
(Donations may be made to the Keyser High School Athletic Complex by visiting their website at keyserhighschoolathleticcomplex.com and using your paypal account, or mailing a check to Keyser High School Athletic Complex, c/o Keyser High School, 1 Tornado Way, Keyser WV 26726.)