Bellefonte Area School District names panel to oversee donations for track complex

The Bellefonte Area School District established a capital campaign committee that will oversee funds donated by the community for the high school’s new outdoor track complex.

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, board President Keith Hamilton said it includes himself, Superintendent Cheryl Potteiger, high school Principal Jennifer Brown, other community members, and the family of Jeremy Herbstritt in whose honor the facility would be named.

Herbstritt was a Bellefonte graduate and former runner who was killed during the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007.

Hamilton said the Herbstritt family has been the “driving force” behind developing the district’s first-ever outdoor track facility that would include an eight-lane track; seating, ticket and vending areas; and a field in the middle of the track for multisport purposes.

“It’s been a long time in the making, and we’ve been asking the community to be patient with us as we get all our ducks in a row,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the goal is now to meet with the committee by next month to establish responsibilities of how the group would handle money donated by the public.

“We should have our priorities set by the first of the year,” Hamilton said. “Then we can commit to taking donations.”

He’s hoping that by 2016, ground will break on the 107-acre lot behind the high school that was purchased by the district about two years ago for $4.5 million.

For now, anyone interested in making a contribution should contact the district office, Hamilton said.

The outdoor track complex will cost about $5 million, followed by an additional $1.5 million to upgrade Rogers Stadium, said Ken Bean, district director of fiscal affairs.

The football and parking lot project was a secondary plan within the district’s combined athletic facility addition and upgrades proposal, Hamilton said.

“It started out around 2005 or 2006 with the vision to have a track, and that spun into other athletic facility needs,” Hamilton said.

Both projects are in the hands of the ELA Group, which has presented the district with preliminary sketches of the plans.

The Rogers Stadium renovation project includes upgraded facilities and a parking lot that complies with ADA regulations.

Hamilton said the track complex and football field renovation projects would be funded by donations.

“We don’t have deep pockets like State College, but we do have people in this community who are invested in helping,” Hamilton said.