Mamaroneck High School is on track to get its new synthetic turf field, or an “all-weather field,” as it is now being called.
At the school board study session on November 3, Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried signed a memorandum of understanding with Fields for Kids, which met the goal of raising $615,000 by November 1.(See: 500 Families Help FFK Meet Goal for Turf Field.)
The funds raised through community donations will be placed in an escrow account until the project is approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). At that time, the school district will formally accept the donation.
After approval by the state, the community monies will be combined with $500,000 approved by voters in 2004 for high school fields work, and $250,000 in state funds pledged by Assemblyman George Latimer in 2006. School Board Vice President Rick Marsico described the field project as “a great example of a public-private partnership.”
Jim Hanley and Kevin Danehy were on hand from Fields for Kids to sign the memo of understanding. Mr. Hanley noted that there will be “lots of kids” and other supporters at the November 17 board meeting for the presentation of a symbolic “big check.” But, he said, the “real celebration will be in September 2010,” when the field opens.
Close to 500 Families Help FFK Meet Goal for Turf Field
Close to 500 families contributed to the effort, according to Jim Hanley, FFK president. A number of donations were in the $1000 to $10,000 range, and then “many, many families contributed $25, $50 or $100.”
“The window for fundraising was extremely short,” explained Mr. Hanley. The effort only kicked off on September 26. “But the demand for this field renovation has been building for over a decade, so people were ready and waiting to give.” (See: Fields for Kids Kicks Off Effort to Raise $465K by Nov 1.)
Kevin Danehy, the Project 2010 leader, admitted that raising nearly half a million dollars in a little over a month seemed like a formidable challenge. “But we were confident we could do it because we were building on a solid foundation of funds.
He explained that the school district already had $500,000 set aside for MHS field work, George Latimer had pledged $250,000 in State Assembly grants to the project, the Larchmont Junior Soccer League had pledged $100,000, and Larchmont-Mamaroneck Youth Lacrosse had pledged $50,000. “This project had great momentum by the time we kicked off the community-wide campaign.”
“People like to give to something that is going to happen, “ agreed Suzanne Despins, FFK’s fundraising chair. “We are thrilled and grateful that so many people from every corner of the community rallied around this project so quickly.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Fried was delighted to hear about the success of the fundraising campaign. “I am extremely excited about the educational benefits that an all-weather field will bring to the children of this community,” he said. “I want to thank Fields for Kids and everyone associated with this wonderful collaboration, as well as the School Board for its insightful leadership in making this possible. I sincerely appreciate the community-wide effort that will have long-term benefits for the children and community in the years to come.”
The ceremonial “big check” will be handed over to Dr. Fried and the Board of Education at the school board meeting on Tuesday, November 17th. The total amount of the check will be for $615,000. It will include the $465,00 just raised plus $150,000 from Larchmont Junior Soccer League and Larchmont Mamaroneck Youth Lacrosse. The Mamaroneck Midget Football League also made a meaningful donation to the fundraising campaign; and Larchmont Mamaroneck Little League contributed as well.
Knowing that the funds are in hand, the Mamaroneck School District can now officially begin the process of renovating the field by next fall. This will include detailed construction drawings, approval by the State Education Department, and construction bids. Ground breaking is expected to take place in early June, with a ribbon cutting projected for early September.
Mr. Danehy reiterated the collaborative nature of Project 2010. “This public-private partnership is a great team effort by the school district, community volunteers, the local sports organizations, and the hundreds of families who have contributed so generously.”
Mr. Hanley concluded: “Savoring the fundraising achievement is sweet, but we all look forward to the real celebration…watching the kids in our community play on a safe, all-weather field next September.”