Saturday, September 20, 2008

New athletic complex dedicated at SWCS

SWCS ribbon cutting
Ribbon cutting ceremony

Years of hard work and dedication came together for Southwestern Central School with the opening ceremony of the new athletic complex.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, and spearheaded by the Southwestern Schools Education Foundation, the taxpayer portion of the project ($590,000) was raised through a fundraising campaign that reached its goal at the end of June 2007.

''This was really an incredible effort on part of the Southwestern Schools Education Foundation, which is community members, who said when this got voted down six years ago, 'We have to do something for the school and the kids,''' said Jon Peterson, high school principal. ''They spearheaded the entire project, from the thought of it, to the fundraisers, to the designing of it and the celebration tonight.''

''It's really a great group of folks who care passionately about our school and our kids,'' Peterson said.

Included in the $2.9 million dollar facelift is an eight-lane all-weather track (which will be completed later this fall), two new sets of bleachers, a new scoreboard, new fencing around the track, a new pole vault area, a new long and triple jump pit, an asphalt driveway from the school to the field, a parking lot for 50 cars and a new girls softball field.

''This is just phenomenal. I taught here for a long time, coached even longer. This is like a dream come true,'' said Tom Priester, Southwestern Schools Education Foundation board member. ''We've got some wonderful people in this community who are supportive of our school and the things that we're trying to accomplish.''

The festivities will continue today, beginning with junior varsity and varsity midget football games at 1 p.m. The Lady Trojans will play a varsity soccer game at 5 p.m., followed by a boys varsity soccer game, any alumni who have played/performed at Lawson Field through the years are invited to assemble for a photograph. The day will be capped with a fireworks display after the soccer game.

''It's a great day for the school and the community,'' Victor Tarana, SSED board member said. ''It's very rewarding to see that something like this can be done. It's because the community, the school, the students, everybody came together and made it happen.''