News

Rotary's stadium fund-raising effort begins

The Rotary Stadium Coalition began its campaign Thursday to raise at least $1 million to help pay for a new athletic complex at the high school, including a new stadium.

To get the ball rolling, former Oak Harbor High School football coach Duck Daugherty donated $1,000 to the campaign.

“It’s an absolute necessity,” Daugherty, who coached football at the high school from 1972-1990, said. “We’ll get her back up to par.”

The estimated $5.5 million facility includes a new stadium, track and field, baseball field and tennis courts.

The proposal also calls for covered aluminum bleachers, press box and a public address system.

Building the stadium at the high school allows the facility to be used for physical education classes, band competitions, youth sports and community events.

The current Memorial Stadium, located on Whidbey Avenue, has been showing the signs of its age.

Its bleachers were condemned by school officials last year and eventually demolished. In its place are temporary aluminum bleachers the school district leased.

Even though the varsity football team was supposed to host first-round games in state compeition for the past two years, they weren’t able to because of the field’s condition.

The money raised by the Rotary Stadium Coalition will offset the amount the school district would have to ask for in a bond election.

Lyle Bull, co-chair of the Rotary Stadium Coalition, said he hopes to have the fund raising complete sometime in early 2005.

In the meantime, the coalition is approaching businesses, individuals and organizations for possible donations.

“We’re not going to leave any stone unturned to get the money,” Bull said. Bull set up the account at Whidbey Island Bank as Daugherty made his donation Thursday afternoon.

To help raise money, the coalition also developed an eight-page presentation, which was approved by the school board, outlining the needs for the facility and comparisons with the stadiums at Sultan High School and Auburn High School.

If the money is raised, the school district could run a stand-alone bond issue in November 2005 to fund the remaining amount.

Anyone wishing to make a donation for the athletic facility, can do so at any Whidbey Island Bank branch, with checks payable to the Oak Harbor Rotary Stadium Foundation.

For more information, call Jill Johnson at 679-3121.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com.

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