It’s going to be a few years before student-athletes at Midway High School enjoy a new training facility, but fundraising efforts for the project are underway.
A committee of supporters is currently raising awareness about the facility used for students playing sports. According to 2015 budget estimates, the cost of the project is $600,000. Some of the planned features include extra space for classes, outside locker rooms, first aid station and weight room. The current one inside the school is overcrowded.
Chairman Jeffrey Dunn is one of many supporters looking forward to completion. The goal is to build it between the football field and the baseball/softball field, close to the gymnasium.
“We love to see it completed in 2020,” he said. “That is a goal that the committee set, but it all comes down to the money.”
The vision for the idea started after the school was built and was restarted in 2012 when Stuart Daughtry was principal. Now Principal Monty Strickland is continuing to help with the effort. So far, the committee raised $170,000 in private donations and $104,000 from the Sampson County School system. Dunn and others are looking for more public support.
Mark Hammond, executive director of auxiliary services for the district, reported that the project has been put on hold until they get closer to the goal.
“It’s not enough to consider building or breaking ground because we’re nowhere near close,” Hammond said.
But school officials have a concept of what they want to build. Engineering drawing have been reviewed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Dunn reported that the committee will continue to seek assistance from the Sampson County School system, through construction or other contributions. Dunn expressed that the committee is confident that the building will be built after the money is raised.
“That seems to be the hardest half,” Dunn said about collecting the rest.
Dunn said another possible challenge is facing more construction cost in the future.
“Construction cost is more now, than it was when we got that budget number,” he said. “Inflation or whatever may effect the cost of it. But we’re going to be leaning on former Midway graduates and those kind of folks to help raise some money.”
Many supporters such as Dunn feel that the facility is a “need, not a want.” He recalled football games and players not having adequate facilities.
At halftime, Dunn reported that the visiting team goes to away from the field to huddle and stay outside to rest.
“You see two of them slip away and go to a fence with their back to the crowd to empty their bladder,” he said about urination. “Granted, they’re way off in the distance with their backs to us, but we know what they’re doing.”
Dunn stressed that the facility will serve more than just football players. To avoid confusion, the group made a decision to stop using that term.
“The door is going to be open to all student-athletes,” he said.
As the parent of two children associated with school, Dunn said he doesn’t have anything to gain from the project, but wants to help future students at the school.
“It’s going to be an asset that will be around for years to come,” he said.
Donations toward the facility may be mailed to: MHS ATF c/0 Jeffrey Dunn, P.O. Box 385, Dunn, N.C. 28335. Checks should be made payable to Midway High School, with ‘Athletic Training Facility’ on the memo line. For more information, contact Dunn at 919-820-3345 or by email at [email protected]