Knowing that every journey begins with a first step, a Canton-Galva High School alumni committee has begun raising funds to start upgrading facilities at the 30-year-old Margreiter Stadium, the home of Eagle football.
The committee’s goal is to fund a $120,000 structure that would replace the brick facility that currently houses the concession stand, restrooms and press box.
“About a year ago, we started looking at some of the issues at the stadium and didn’t realize how bad some of them were,” said Trenton Prieb, a school board member and a 1993 CGHS alum. “We got to looking into it, and really thinking that we need to do something pretty serious, but also that we didn’t have the funds.”
That didn’t stop Prieb and seven other CHGS alums from forming the Eagle Power Club to help raise funds for this initial project.
Prieb said given that USD 419 patrons had approved a bond issue to build new classrooms and a gymnasium just three years earlier, the alumni committee knew asking for another bond issue so soon for the football stadium was not realistic.
“Earlier this spring we were kind of brainstorming, and the idea of bricks came up, and we thought that might be a good idea for a fundraiser here,” he said.
“We talked to a group of other alumni outside of the school board, and said do you think we could do something like this to help get some donations? They thought we probably could, so we decided to go for it.”
The committee’s engraved bricks come in four styles: a 4-inch by 8-inch gray brick for a $100 gift; an 8-inch by 8-inch gray brick for $300; and a 12-inch by 12-inch brick in either red or gray for a gift of $1,000 or more.
Each brick will be engraved with the name of the donor and will be laid out around the new building.
The Eagle Power Club is operating under the umbrella of the McPherson County Community Foundation, Prieb said.
“They’re set up as a 501(c)(3), so they’ll manage the donations, and when we are ready to do the project they’ll donate the money to the school to pay for it,” he said.
The building in question has been estimated to cost $120,000; Prieb said the campaign has raised around $30,000 so far. The goal has been to raise as much funding as they can by February so the structure can be built in time for the 2017 football season.
“It’s going a little slower than we hoped,” Prieb admitted. “We’re off to a good start, but (the goal) is still a ways off.”
But Prieb is hopeful.
“There’s a lot of people who are excited about it and have told us they’ll support it,” Prieb said.
The Eagle Power Club plan to host a community meeting later this month to present the need with the hope that patrons will consider making a year-end, tax-deductible gift.
“The goal for the first year is to build that new concession stand building just off to the south of the existing structure,” Prieb said. “It’s going to be a better location for the people working concessions so they can see what’s going on instead of being stuck back behind, and it will have the functionality that we need.”
But the Eagle Power Club envisions additional upgrades, including a competitive track.
“The goal of the Eagle Power Club is to raise money to begin revitalization and expansion efforts of Margreiter Stadium in the summer of 2017,” according to its website.”
Added Prieb: “As part of that, we started thinking, we sure don’t want to do anything that would get in the way of the longterm goal, which would be to add a competition track, which we’ve never had.”
The Eagle Power Club has been working with Clark Architecture in McPherson to help design the overall project and how to pursue it in construction phases.
Superintendent John Dent is grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm of the group.
“We’ve got a bunch of alumni who are hard workers and have seen the need,” he said. “They have taken the initiative to start raising funds for this so the school district doesn’t have to fund it fully.
“It’s really nice that they are active and want to be helpful in that regard.”