School Board OKs funding for Boosters’ concessions

The District 55 School Board approved spending $2,185 to help cover the last of the costs of a new concessions stand built by the Sweet Home High School Booster Club at Husky Field.

Including this money, the Booster Club has spent $7,172 on the new building to date, including building materials, the foundation, permit fees and parts for the installation of a new electrical service.

The new stand replaces a portable concessions stand, often used at baseball games and other activities.

The exterior has been completed, said Booster Club Chairwoman Karla Burcham. Insulation has been installed in the walls, but the ceiling hasn’t been finished yet.

The Booster Club is planning to finish the structure before track starts in the spring, she said. Once the ceiling and lights are installed, people will be able to work on the interior after dark.

The Booster Club hit a snag in the project when it learned that it would have to install a new electrical service.

Previously, club members believed the existing service would be adequate, but Pacific Power informed them that they would need the new service installed to meet codes.

School District representatives also had looked at the project and believed it would be able to continue, and the district had planned on using its electrician to do the work.

“Unfortunately, we lost our electrician about the same time they needed an electrician,” said Supt. Larry Horton.

The club turned to Christenson Electric, which donated $3,000 in labor, leaving the $2,185 in parts and materials.

If the district granted the money to the Booster Club, Horton was concerned about setting a precedent for other groups seeking funds, he said. “I do not think that I could have justified the expense in this year’s budget knowing we are facing some potentially severe decreases in funding after the January election.”

He offered a possible compromise where the funds could be loaned to the Booster Club and paid back next year, but Burcham told the board she would have to decline that offer and seek funding elsewhere.

Since the funds the Booster Club generates goes toward the students, Horton said, the board could go ahead and approve the expense.

The Booster Club raises funds to financially support, promote and advance student participation in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

The club’s main fund-raising tool is the concessions stand, Burcham said. For two years, Emery and Karen Wagner put up a tent at football games and cooked burgers for the Booster Club. All of the proceeds went to the club, and that’s where much of the club’s savings came from.

The Booster Club funds club activities, Burcham said. Last year, it didn’t turn a single club down that asked for funding. The club also puts out an athletics calendar each season and hosts a senior athlete awards banquet in the spring.

The old concessions booth will continue to be used on the baseball field and other events, such as the Forestry Club’s competition in March. The new building is School District property and will be used during track, football and other events.

The board chose to take the money from its long-term maintenance fund. Board member Chanz Keeney explained that this is basically a maintenance issue, but two board members disagreed and voted no, on his motion to grant the funds, including Jason Redick and David VanDerlip while Business Manager Kevin Strong expressed concern.

“I guess I’m very protective of our long-term maintenance,” Strong said. “Looking over the next 19 years (the remaining term of the district’s bond measure), we’re going to need every penny of that.”

The bond is paid off in 2029, he said, and he doubts the district could pass another bond before that. Meanwhile, buildings will still need maintenance.

“I support entirely what the Booster Club is doing,” Strong said. “I’m just looking at the uncertainty of two ballot measures this month.”

Voting to award the money to the Booster Club were Leena Neuschwander,, Keeney, Dale Keene, Mike Reynolds, Jenny Daniels and John Fassler.

Billie Weber was absent.

The Booster Club, a volunteer organization, received assistance from Weyerhaeuser’s WAVE program, which provided a $1,000 check for the building along with more than 30 hours of work by three Weyerhaeuser employees.

The city of Sweet Home provided a $500 grant.

Overhead Door of Salem donated a $900 door.

Sweet Home Public Works and the engineering division provided consultation and cut asphalt and concrete.

Timber Harvesting, Inc., and the School District provided equipment.

Volunteers include Darin Jordan, Burcham, Star andTim Walker, Connie and Will Moyer, Brent Hamilton, Liz and Terry Gowan, Pam Moug, Jake Rice, Dave Barringer and Bob Burger.

Since 2004, the club has provided some $25,000 to numerous programs, including football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer and the Forestry Club. It also supported or completed a number of projects, including a Husky mural in the main gym at the high school, uniforms, helmets, a baseball shed, baseball concrete, softball tarp, softball fencing and warm-ups. The club has provided $3,300 in college scholarships.

In other business, the board:

– Accepted the resignation of Curriculum Director Jan Sharp, effective Jan. 31.

– Accepted the resignation of Valerie Reinhard, special education at Sweet Home Junior High, effective Feb. 26.

– Recognized John Trahan and thanked him for his service as school resource officer in District 55. Trahan went to work for Lebanon Police Department. Officer Chris Wingo is the new SRO.