Cougar Foundation Capital Campaign – Athletic Turf Complex
As many of you know, approximately a year ago, the Palmyra Area Education Foundation (PAEF – now the “Cougar Foundation”) established a Capital Campaign Committee to explore the need, support, and financial viability to construct new turf fields and athletic facilities for the student athletes at Palmyra Area School District (PASD). Our committee has since taken the name of “the Cougar Committee”. For the past year our committee has been working on estimates and issues regarding construction, coordination with athletic programs and coaches at PASD about the needs of our teams, and working on financial models and forecasts in conjunction with PASD and certain Board members.
Our work is finally at a point where we believe we are able to present a sufficient, persuasive, and compelling business case to the PASD Board members for a vote on our proposed package. Our proposal is to provide a turf surface at the current Buck Swank Stadium (which would host field hockey and football), create a new complex on the site of the current middle school field hockey field and JV baseball field (which would host boys and girls soccer and lacrosse), as well as add some minor updates for the softball and baseball fields at the high school (as a result of these programs losing a playing field and facility in this process). The total estimated cost of this project would be about $4,160,000. Our committee has worked exhaustively to create a financial forecast and model that will significantly, if not fully, offset the financing costs of this project to avoid budgetary impacts (taxes) for our community. To that end, our committee has already received “letters of intent” demonstrating a financial commitment of approximately $825,000 of private funds for this project!! Through additional revenue opportunities, further advertising and sponsorship plans, additional Cougar Committee fundraising efforts, and other related cost savings from this project and financial model – we believe we have provided the PASD Board with a plan that shows a long term viability and plan to cover the costs associated with the debt from this project through private funding.
Our committee believes that this project is essential for the growth and sustainability of our athletic programs and for our student athletes. We have seen studies from our Athletic Director indicating that PASD is currently 20 fields (or more) short of its ability to sustain athletic programs (games, practices, etc.) for our school and civic programs in our community. Further, it is our belief that this project would minimize or eliminate our current risk and exposure for the outside/private field rentals and costs associated with our current circumstances. Additionally, our committee has heard from many families and student athletes expressing concerns for the safety of the current conditions and playing surfaces of our leased/rented facilities. We believe we have a duty as PASD and as a community to provide the most safe and secure facilities and environment we possibly can for our student athletes. Finally, our community continues to grow rapidly, as we have experienced significant growth in the student population in recent years, and trends continue to show increases in our population and student body ahead. Without addressing this need now, we face likely increased costs and impacts to deal with this situation if we continue to wait and delay addressing the issue. The timing of this project now would also allow us to leverage existing borrowing costs to coincide with debt incurred by PASD for the construction of the Middle School expansion and renovation.
We are seeking your support, and the support of our entire community to make this project a reality. We encourage you to please voice your support to our PASD Board (contact info is listed on the district website). We also encourage your comments or questions to us directly (Jim Kreiser, Chairperson… 717-576-5588 and Steve Derr, Treasurer… 717-439-4027). Your feedback and your show of support, as well as that of our entire community, is critical at this point. Here are some key dates:
· November 2, 2017: Cougar Committee will make its final presentation and update to the PASD Board (District office – 6 pm)
· November 9, 2017: PASD will have the vote of this project on its meeting agenda (District office – 6 pm).
If we have enough support – these meetings may be moved to the auditorium to accommodate the audience. We are truly hopeful that everyone will attend, and that the use of the auditorium will be required. The voice and support of our community is needed to show and clearly demonstrate the underlying desire and drive of our parents, students, and everyone for this project. We must show our administration and PASD Board that our community strongly supports this project and is in support of our student athletes. We ask that all of you come out to attend. We ask that the boosters, the coaches, the student athletes and all in our community attend these meetings as a show of support and backing for this initiative.
For those attending and wishing to speak at the meetings (we encourage as many as possible to voice their perspectives and hopeful support); the November 2nd meeting is open for public comment period. The November 9th meeting will require that you “register” in advance for comment. Even if you are just willing to speak for 5 seconds to say “I support this project”, which we hope you will, you will need to call or email the district office or someone in the administration in advance to be put on the agenda (deadline for this is 10 am on November 9th).
Thank you so much for your time and support!
Jim & Steve,