By JORDAN A. COHEN
Fundraising for renovations at Bo Rein Stadium at Niles McKinley High School got a badly needed boost Friday thanks to a donation of $200,000 from the Cafaro Foundation.
“Niles doesn’t criticize us, but congratulates us for our successes and makes us feel extremely welcome,” said Anthony Cafaro Sr., retired Cafaro Corp. president, as he presented the check during a ceremony at the stadium.
The Rein Stadium Renovation Committee, which was formed nearly four years ago, developed the plans and the fundraising campaign. The committee is trying to raise $2.5 million for a series of renovations with the first phase, replacement of the turf, expected to begin next year.
“We need to replace the turf and the drainage,” said Tim Parry, committee project chairman. “Last season, the turf was in such bad shape that we had to move our Homecoming football game against Hubbard to Girard.”
Parry said the committee has raised $350,000 including the Cafaro donation thus far. “We need to raise $800,000 for the turf, drainage, paving and fencing, and we hope to complete it and start work in 2013.”
Long-range renovation plans for the stadium, built in the 1930s as a public works project, include replacement of locker rooms and restrooms and concession plans, structural repairs and construction of a new press box. The renovations would also reduce the seating capacity from the current 10,000 to 7,000. Parry said completion of the entire project may take eight years.
“We want to make this a first-class facility like it used to be in the ‘60s and ’70s, Parry said.