The South Range stadium may see light next fall
By Amanda Tonoli
Phase 2 of the South Range Schools football stadium project started in March 2015 is underway after the athletic booster club committed itself to a $1 million loan from Farmers National Bank.
Superintendent Dennis Dunham said the goal is to have the field ready for students to play on for the 2017-18 school year.
“I’m talking Friday night football, boys and girls soccer, and any other interscholastic sport we have,” he said.
Eric Carlson, South Range Schools Foundation representative, agreed.
“To have kids playing here next year is absolutely awesome,” he said.
Although the turf is installed at the new field across the street from the school on state Route 6, a number of materials still need to be bought and installed. Some of the equipment involved in Phase 2 will include bleachers, lighting, a score board and a locker room.
Randy Dominguez, athletic booster club president, said he already has been talking to bleacher companies and hopes to have a plan in place by the end of this year.
“We have been pretty aggressive in terms of things we would like with the schedules, and we are being aggressive in terms of awarding construction bids and things of that nature,” Dunham said.
In order to make this happen, the South Range Foundation and South Range Athletic Boosters Club had the help of Farmers Bank and a $1 million private loan.
Mark Witmer, Farmers National Bank senior executive vice president and chief banking officer, said the loan was a nice alternative to waiting 10 years to gather the funds necessary to complete the football stadium project.
Carlson expressed his excitement about the success of such a large and expensive privately funded project.
Beyond the loan, the effort has been driven by local businesses and donors.
“It’s just really exciting how the community is going together and not a single tax dollar is being used,” he said.
The Phil and Gerry Rominger Foundation, founded by Phil and Gerry Rominger – both South Range alumni, donated a $1.5 million stipend to help the stadium get a running start.
“It was a huge jump-start,” Carlson said. “We are extremely grateful for that. We’re one of seven the trust donates to, including big names such as Duke University. It’s just amazing that we are one of them.”
In total, the football stadium’s complete construction will cost about $3 million.
“We’d really like to help the school and the community to get kids playing out there just immediately,” Witmer said. “Farmers Bank is a community bank that finds it very important to invest in the community, sports, education and kids.”
Witmer wasn’t alone in that feeling.
“It’s a win not for the people at this table, but all the kids who are going to get to use it,” Dunham said. “The fact that this is privately funded really shows this community will do what we have to do to support one another.”