KEYSER - Over the period of several weeks, the Mineral Daily News Tribune asked a lot of questions about the campaign to raise funds for the Keyser High School. The questions and interviews resulted in an eight-part series which is run in its entirety here.


 

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the first of a series of articles examining the past, present and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

KEYSER — Although it wasn't quite the success they'd hoped, the first Tornado Alley Bluegrass Festival is expected to clear a little bit of money for the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.
And, organizers say, there will definitely be another festival next year.
“We're probably going to make around $800,” organizer Ed Hartman told the News Tribune Tuesday, noting that a few bills for the $31,000+ event have not yet come in. He expects everything to be finalized by the committee's next meeting, scheduled in late August.
Volunteer Georgie Biser, who is Keyser High School's parent coordinator and who worked the festival,  was pleased with the success of the event.
“For the first year, I think it went very well,” she said. “I think everybody really enjoyed themselves.”
Biser was also pleased with the folks who came out to volunteer for the day-long event.
“We had coaches, students and former students” who volunteered to help the day of the festival, she said.
“I can't say enough about the coaching staff and the students who came out and helped.”
Support for ticket sales, however, was not as impressive, according to Hartman.
The festival, held Saturday, July 3, on the practice field at Keyser High School, featured nationally-recognized bluegrass bands the Grascals, IIIrd Time Out, and Nothin' Fancy, as well as several local favorites, and was designed as a major fund raiser for the Keyser High athletic complex.
It was advertised locally, regionally, and on the Internet, but drew a smaller-than-expected crowd of music lovers on the hot Fourth of July weekend.
“We had a decent turnout, but most of them were from away from here,” Hartman said, citing Akron, Ohio, State College, Pa., and the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore areas as just a few of the places he knew the event had drawn from.
As for local support for the festival, Hartman estimated there “wasn't 20 people from Keyser” who attended the well-advertised event.
“It was a good show, and it was a good day ... we just didn't have the local support,” he said.
Part of the problem, he feels, could be a direct result of what he sees as an overall lack of support for how the athletics facility has evolved since the original plans were conceived for a much more modest construction some eight to 10 years ago.
“I feel the community really didn't want that field we've got up there. It was pushed on the community by a handful of people who wanted it for themselves,” he said.
“I don't know who didn't say 'No' (when certain decisions were made), but it should have been done.”

KEYSER — Although complete financial records from the first Tornado Alley Bluegrass Festival won't be available until the committee meets in late August, organizer Ed Hartman did supply the News Tribune with a brief rundown of the costs for the bands, advertising, and other necessities for staging such a major show.
Total cost for just the entertainment acts alone was $14, 750. Cost of staging was $5,000; lighting, $1,500; and security, $1,000.
A total of $6,000 went for radio advertising, $1,345 for newspaper advertising, and $1,550 for brochures – although corporate sponsors helped with some of those costs, either through monetary or in-kind donations.
Total budget for the event was $31,989.
Two grants totaling $15,000 were received to help cover the costs, and corporate sponsors pledged over $9,000.
The committee's goal was to raise $11,240 in ticket sales and $600 from vendor fees.
The final financial accounting will be released once it becomes available to the News-Tribune in August.


(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles examining the past, present, and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

KEYSER — Keyser High School was not always slated to have the spectacular athletic complex that is currently being constructed beside the school.
Plans for the athletic complex at the “new” Keyser High School were much different when the campaign to raise funds started in 2002.
At that time, the Keyser High School Athletic Facilities Committee – which pre-dated the present Campaign for Keyser High School and was chaired by Bob Harman - had a floor plan for one field house  to be located at the end of the field.
That 166'x50' one-story building was to house the concession stand, visitors' locker room, a combined home team locker room/weight room, equipment storage, whirlpools, offices for the coaches, and restrooms.
An architectural drawing of the proposed building – designed by Bloodwood and Associates - was printed on the front page of the News Tribune in August 2005.
“It was to be exactly like Robert C. Byrd Stadium in Clarksburg,” Harman told the News Tribune in a recent interview, adding that the building as originally planned would have met the requirements for hosting state tournaments. The entire stadium complex as it was planned at that time, however, would not have met the criteria.
As for the field house itself, the design was compact and workable.
“Everything would have been in one building and it would have cost a lot less,” Harman said, noting that one local contractor had said he could build a turnkey building to Keyser's specifications for approximately $240,000.
“The only thing we changed was to put the concession stand in the front. They had it in the back of the building and we felt it would be easier to get to if it was in the front, and people could watch the game while they stood in line to get their food.”
Somewhere along the line, however, the scope of the project – including separating the concession stand and restrooms into a separate building and expanding the field house to include three floors – was changed dramatically.
“I was told we couldn't put the building at the end of the field; that they wanted it up behind the bleachers,” Harman said. “And then I was told we needed two buildings.
“I was also told we'd have to go along with what the school officials said.”
When pressed as to who “the school officials” were, Harman answered, “mainly the coach and the principal.”
“It was all so the playoffs could be played there. With the changes, the stadium complex would meet all the specifications,” he said.
In 2007, the Campaign for Keyser High School was launched, taking over the fund raising duties for the expanded athletic complex and also for scholarships at the school.
Although the KHS Facilities Committee continued to sell engraved bricks for the now separate concession stand, that group was, for all intents and purposes, dissolved.


(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles examining the past, present, and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

KEYSER — With the exception of “a little over $10,000” which remains for the engraving of memorial bricks and some small jobs left to be done at the concession stand, the money raised by the Keyser High School Athletic Facilities Committee has been put toward construction of the two buildings at the  stadium complex, according to chairman Bob Harman.
The committee, which pre-dated the present Campaign for Keyser High School, began raising funds for a field house in the early 2000s.
Like the present campaign members, however, Harman said his committee soon found it was not easy to raise the funds they were hoping to bring in for the new facility.
After holding a variety of fund raisers ranging from golf matches and 50/50 drawings to Longaberger Basket Bingos and “bucket brigades,” they were surprised at the results.
“We were getting nowhere fast,” Harman recalled in a recent interview with the News Tribune.
“In four years, we'd only gotten around $100,000.”
Harman said $50,000 of that was placed in an interest bearing account. With the economy not yet starting to slide downhill at that time, the committee was earning approximately $1,000 a month in interest.
All in all, even with the not-so-favorable success of the Black & Gold Bash (which cost the committee a total of $40,725), the committee was able to raise “around $190,000,” Harman said. That did not include the $50,000+ in the money market account.
According to an expense sheet prepared by Assistant Superintendent/Treasurer Steve Peer and provided to the News-Tribune by Harman, a total of $276,535.10 was spent on construction of what had by that time become two buildings — a field house and separate concession stand.
“We basically built the shells of those two buildings,” Harman said of the committee's fund raising efforts.
According to the expense sheet, the expenditures were broken down as follows:
84 Lumber (building supplies), $58,206.40.
Boggs Supply (supplies), $56.79.
Cannon's Ace Hardware (supplies), $325.36.
Casual Labor (brick laying), $1,667.
Cumberland Concrete (bricks), $2,408.24.
Cumberland Pipe & Steel (fixtures for field house), $757.80.
Heritage Brick (engraving), $20,243.20.
Hoppert Construction (concrete work), $111,123.53.
Mineral Daily News Tribune (advertising), $2,075.
Norman Parks (excavation), $31,131.78.
Ridge Builders (roof work), $42,139.
Robert Harman (phone expenses), $163.
Tri-State Memorial (bricks and engraving), $6,238.
When the Campaign for Keyser High School took over fund raising in 2007, Harman says he was allowed to continue selling engraved memorial bricks for the concession stand and that is where the remaining $10,000 came from.
Some of that money will go to engraving the memorial bricks that have been sold and the rest will be used to construct some shelves in the concession stand and to place some rain spouting on the outside of the concession stand.
“I'm going to continue to raise money, to sell the bricks, and I'll transfer that money to the Board of Education,” he said.
“They can use it for little things that need done up there.”
Harman admits that “mistakes were made” and that some of the efforts of the facilities committee — such as the Black & Gold Bash — fell short of the hoped-for results.
But he hopes that everyone can put that behind them and begin moving forward again to get the stadium complex completed.
“I would love to see everybody work together to raise the money for the kids,” he said.


(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the fourth in a series of articles examining the past, present and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

KEYSER – The decision to split the original field house design into two separate buildings at the Keyser High School Stadium Complex was actually necessitated by Mother Nature.
In an interview in which Keyser High principal Charles Wimer and head football coach Sean Biser agreed to sit down with the News Tribune to answer questions about how things have progressed – or not progressed - at the new football stadium, Wimer revealed that the reason the decision was made to split and re-locate the field house was that the location of the field itself had to be moved slightly from its original site.
“The field had to be moved about 30 yards toward New Creek,” he said, explaining that excavation of the field had uncovered a lot of  bedrock underneath which would have created multiple problems for the construction.
The single field house, which had been designed to include  locker rooms, a weight room, equipment storage, restrooms and concession stand all in one, was originally to have been located at the end of the field, next to the high school.
When the field itself had to be shifted, however, that left no room for the structure.
“Plus, it would have all been fill dirt underneath it,” Biser added.
Also in the original design, the  press box was to be a  free-standing structure behind the home side bleachers. When it became evident that the field house could not be placed at the end zone, however, it was moved behind the bleachers.
That move necessitated two additional decisions:
1. The press box was placed on top of the field house.
2. The concession stand was separated from the field house, and placed off to the side where it could be more accessible to the crowd.
Actually, according to Biser, the WVSSAC (West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission) had said two concession stands should be built – one on the home side and one on the visitors' side.
Placing the concession stand where it now stands was a compromise, although both Wimer and Biser say a second structure could be built some time in the future, when the present work is completed and paid for.
They both also explained that the existence of the bedrock was the reason the eight-lane track was positioned with the finish line on the visitors' side of the field – another criticism which they have both heard over the past year.
“Once again, we would have had to dig into that rock,” Biser said.
With all these decisions being made, it became obvious that the original set of blueprints for the new stadium were now useless.
The need for a new set of designs, in Wimer's opinion, is what started a lot of the problems experienced with the construction process over the past several of years.
“We had to redesign everything,” he said. “We had to get new blueprints and that started it all. The board didn't want to buy them, the Black and Gold committee (Keyser High Athletic Facilities Committee) didn't want to buy them, and that's when the hard feelings started,” he said.
“We paid for them out of our fund raising efforts, and that's when the costs started to escalate.”
According to Wimer, work began on the buildings before the new blueprints were received and a number of necessities were apparently not included as the foundation and walls went up.
“When the fire marshal came in, we had to catch up on things he said we needed,” he said.
Wimer said the fire codes for the field house are more strict than other buildings because “it is considered an instructional area.”
When work originally began on the structure, however, Wimer says they were looking at it “as just another building” and did not consider the fire system, sprinkler system, or double insulation needed for instructional space.
“The first committee never even considered these items,” he said.
Many of those items – necessities for the continued use of the field – are being addressed by the board of education this summer.
According to Wimer, the dimensions of the structures – or what the space is to be used for – have not changed much even when the concession stand was split off from the field house.
And contrary to many of the rumors that have been circulating that certain rooms in the field house have been assigned for coaches' families so they didn't have to sit out in the crowd to watch the game, Wimer said, “no rooms are assigned at the field house for anybody. There's a lot of talk out there, but that's just people joking.”

 

(Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of articles examining the past, present, and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

The decisions which resulted in two buildings instead of one, artificial turf instead of grass, and a top-of-the-line eight-lane track at the new Keyser High School Stadium were made by a committee and not by any one single person, according to KHS principal Charles Wimer and head football coach Sean Biser.
Ever since the first shovelful of dirt was turned at the athletic complex, rumors have flown about the decisions and how they were made. Then, when it became public knowledge that what was being built was not what was originally designed – and there were problems raising the funds to pay for it – fingers have pointed at several individuals as having exceeded the scope of what was actually needed for the school.
Recently, Wimer and Biser sat down with the News Tribune to squash some of those rumors.
“All decisions have been made by committees; no single person made a decision in the design or what we wanted to buy or how we would raise the money,” Wimer said.
In addition, those committees had  members with varied backgrounds which would be useful in making the decisions they needed to consider.
“All the committees had outside experts - people in engineering, people in business, and with a construction background,” Wimer said.
One group, the Campaign for Keyser High School, is still in existence and is solely a fund raising committee, like the Keyser High School Athletic Facilities Committee which came before it.
The other group, which Wimer referred to as an “on site” committee, made most of the actual construction decisions.
“They reviewed the bids, looked at what we wanted and what we didn't want, and what they felt were the best products for our money,” he said.
In addition to the community people with engineering, business and construction backgrounds, there were some school personnel on that committee but, despite rumors that the head coach had pushed for the larger and better facilities than needed, Wimer said, “there may not even have been a coach on the committee.
“Coach Biser had input, but it was the community group that made the decision for every major contract.”
“I came in when you needed me,” Biser agreed.
In fact, Wimer added after some thought, “myself, Greg Phillips and Danny Adams (director and assistant director of facilities and maintenance) may have been the only school personnel on the committee.”
Wimer admitted, however, that when the “crunch time” came last fall and it became apparent that some things needed to be done and done quickly so the field could be used that year, the group of decision-makers “got smaller” and consisted mainly of him, Superintendent Skip Hackworth, and Assistant Superintendent/Treasurer Steve Peer.
According to Wimer, it was the on-site committee that decided to go with artificial turf over a grass field.
“We have seven school groups that use the field,” Wimer said, noting that it's hard to keep a grass field in good condition under such heavy use.
He said it also made sense financially.
“It costs around $6,000-$7,000 to maintain a grass field annually,” he said, noting that Biser spends at least $3,000 each year just to maintain the school's practice field.
“We thought (the turf) would be a good upgrade.”
As for the decision to install top-of-the-line bleachers, Wimer said, “we wanted them to last forever, and they would need less maintenance.”
The decision to go with the more expensive surface on the track was “a safety feature,” Wimer said.
Both Wimer and Biser said one reason the committee had decided to do it all at once and not to phase in certain upgrades or additions was because the felt if they didn't do it now, it might never get done.
Citing the South End Sports Complex as an example, Wimer said, “they blacktopped the track and that's all that's been done to it since.”
He said they also looked at “what's best for the community” when they made their decisions, noting that the field will be eligible to host regional football, track and band events – all great money-makers both for the school and the community.
“We're looking right now at hosting regionals in track next year,” Biser said.
And yes, funding was also a consideration.
“We asked, 'are we building this for next year,  or for ten years down the road?'” Wimer said. “ It's hard to fund it the first time, but if you go back the second time to add to it, it's even harder.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the sixth in a series of articles examining the past, present and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

hen the  Campaign for Keyser High School was formed in 2007, the members took a “leap of faith”  that KHS alumni and friends  would respond from all over the country to financially support the drive to raise funds for a new state-of-the-art athletic stadium and also to sustain several scholarships at the school.
They say that support, however, has not been what they expected.
According to Keyser High principal Charles Wimer, who sat down, along with head football coach Sean Biser, for an interview recently with the Mineral Daily News Tribune, the campaign made its decisions based on the advice of a consultant firm which said the support should be there.
“The financial consultants said, 'We think you can raise $1.7 million,'” Wimer said.
So before they ever went public with their plans three years ago, members of the campaign reached out to some alumni whom they felt might be willing to provide some larger contributions to jump start the project.
“We felt the alumni, and the community as a whole, would be supportive, but that's not been as great as we anticipated,” Wimer said.
“We felt we could raise $1.7 million – in fact they said we had a potential for a little over $2 million – in a year and a half.”
In addition to the recommendation of the consultant firm – which was hired with the help of one initial large donation that was received from an alumnus – the members of the campaign also based their belief that they could raise close to $2 million on the fact, Biser said, that “this is a sports community; an athletically-minded community.”
They expected the revenue from the games at the new football stadium would be significantly more than they had been at Stayman Field, and figured that in to the proposed budget.
Once again, Wimer was shocked at the actual results.
“When the finance committee asked me what I thought I could contribute, based on the take at the games, I threw out a number,” he admits.
“It was based on what we'd done at Stayman Field and what I thought we could do here.
“No one could have ever convinced me that the first game at the new stadium at Keyser High School would not be a sell-out,” he said.
“But there were no more people there that night than there were at any other game at Stayman Field.”
And so, as the project went on, it started to become clear that the funds they expected to raise weren't close to what the project was going to cost.
“The consultants told us it would take $3 million plus to build a good field,” Wimer said, “but they said, 'you can maybe squeak by with $1.5  million.'
“With the upgrades that we made, it put us at $2.2 million,” he said.
Biser said the majority of people just don't realize how much building a quality field costs.
“People ask me, 'how much did the bleachers cost? $50,000?' and I say, 'that might pay for the railings,'” he said.
Wimer said the on-site committee which made the decisions on what would be included at the athletic complex did make some “trade-offs” to try to keep the costs down.
“We don't have parking lots right now, but we do have synthetic turf. We don't have security lights, but we do have a rubberized surface on the track which is maybe more important,” he said.
“Did we spend all our money wisely? The committee feels we did.”
It was the support, however, that fell short, he said.
“As of last fall, I knew we were going to be light,” Wimer said of the fund raising effort. “I was actually against finishing the field for playoffs because I knew I couldn't pay for it.”
In May, Wimer admitted to the board of education that the school did not have enough to make its second $297,000 payment on their loan, and in June, the board of education pitched in $237,000 to enable that payment to be made.
The remaining $60,000 came from campaign funds.
Why does Wimer think the expected support has not been there?
“I can't really answer that,” he said, shaking his head. “Is it a trust issue? I don't know.
“People can find an excuse for not doing anything. You can question someone's decision, but is that a reason to not support the project?”
Rather than counting on the “big money,” the campaign is now appealing to everyone to reach into their pockets and help with an amount which they say will easily add up.
“If we can get 1,500 people to pay $200 annually, that would pay for what we have now,” Wimer said. “If we could get 2,000 people to pay $200 annually, that would let us finish it.”
Biser noted that $200 annually, broken down into $20 for 10 weeks or $10 for 20 weeks, should be affordable for many.
“Mathematically, that's how simple it is,” he said.
They want the community to know that the whole reason the campaign to build the athletic facility in the first place boils down to two words – the kids.
“Who doesn't want something better for the kids?” Wimer asked.
“That's why we're here.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the seventh in a series of articles examining the past, present and future of the Campaign for Keyser High School and the progression of the Keyser High School Athletic Complex.)

KEYSER — If they had it to do all over again, would they do it any differently?
“Probably,” says Mineral County Schools Superintendent Skip Hackworth.
The problem with that idea is, there were a lot of unknowns which came into play when both the Keyser High School Athletic Facilities Committee and the Campaign for Keyser High School started raising funds for the new football stadium.
Those unknowns, Hackworth feels, created a lot of the problem the volunteers have experienced in raising enough funds to make the payments on the athletic facility.
“When we started building the new high school, there was such enthusiasm; everybody said they never thought they'd get a new school,” Hackworth said, noting that enthusiasm seemed to carry over to the community-based fundraising campaign for the extended gym, which was successful in raising enough money to quickly pay off the expansion to the new school gymnasium.
But then fund raising began after that for the football stadium, and the economy began to decline, and people became more cautious with their dollars.
“The time seemed right, but we didn't know the economy was going to fall,” Hackworth said.
“If you look back at what was happening in the country back then, a lot of people's financial worlds were uncertain ... they still are.”
Emphasizing that he does not intend to make the issue political in any way, Hackworth said, “I really think if we would have started in the Clinton era, when everything was booming, things would have been different.”
Board of Education President Kevin Watson agrees.
“I do believe the fund raising efforts have a lot to do with our economy; just like the latest bond not passing had a lot to do with the state of our economy. It was running at a bad time,” he said, noting that “gas prices were at an historic high and we, in turn, were asking for more money to support our schools.”
According to Hackworth, had the bond levy passed in 2008, current discussion about stadium fund raising inadequacies would not be happening.
“The board would have been able to build the stadium, add a gym at Frankfort, and complete all our school renovations, including the cost of a new primary school in Keyser, and the bond would have been half paid off by now,” he said.
“But, Charles Wimer (KHS principal) said it best, 'We are where we are,'” he said.
Watson also feels  fund raising would have been easier if the committee hadn't aimed so high right from the start.
“They wanted everything at once,” he said. “Since 2007, I continuously asked, 'What are the priorities? Let's get our priority list established and meet the requirements of the WVSSAC (West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission).”
Watson says he received no answers to those questions, and communication – or the lack thereof – was therefore another problem which he feels greatly hindered the fund raising process.
“There was a breakdown in communications,” he said. “ In May of 2010, when Mr. Wimer  came to the board and said that he only had $60,000 to pay the $300,000 bill, I was shocked!
“To know that that complex was in the first year of their payment, that is what triggered me to further investigate what the priorities were and what projects had and had not been completed.”
“We probably should have said, 'We need you to come in and make reports,'” Hackworth admitted, noting that he does not want to place any undue blame on any one individual or committee.
“We can go back a lot of ways and say, 'Why didn't they do this or that?'” but that's not really fair,” he said.
“We owe a lot to the  fund raising committee for what they've done.”
As for issues with the actual construction of the field, Hackworth agrees with Wimer's assessment that things began snowballing when the position of the field was altered from its originally planned position.
“We had a drainage issue. When we had to dig out a drainage area, that changed the plans,” he said.
According to Wimer, the shift in the position of the field led to moving the field house from the end zone to behind the bleachers, which, in turn, led to a larger facility to accommodate both the field house and the press box.
As for Wimer's comments that the construction of the field house was slowed in part because “the board” wouldn't pay for a  second set of blueprints needed when the field house was moved  and combined with the press box, Hackworth takes the blame for that one.
“We had paid for one set of plans. We felt the facility that had been designed would serve the school well,” he said.
 

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.
Hackworth agrees.
“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.)