Foundation Fuel Stadium Gifts, Derry Area School District STEM Upgrades
Donors are needed to help the Derry Area School District Foundation continue its projects to improve athletics, education, agriculture and arts programs for students.
That’s the goal of the foundation’s Four A’s initiative, an effort of the Trojan’s Spear Alumni Association.
The initiative raised $450,000 in charitable contributions for much-needed improvements to the entrance to the high school stadium. Additional donations are being sought for the project, which is estimated to cost $550,000.
The district plans to begin seeking project offers within the next month, according to business manager Scott Chappell.
Meanwhile, the Four A’s Initiative Foundation and Steering Committee are looking to address other needs in the Derry area.
“This is not just a one-project initiative,” said Sarah Crispin-Thomas, a local insurance agent who chairs the steering committee. “We are looking to complete this (stadium) project and hopefully inspire the public to want to get involved in future projects to help the district.”
This project wishlist includes new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) software and technology, new sound systems for the auditorium and gymnasium, and the replacement of the greenhouse used by the agriculture and science program. district horticulture.
“Agriculture is such a big part of the district and is an important supply for the county,” Crispin-Thomas said. “We are the only district in Westmoreland County to have an ag-hort program.”
Long-range plans include improvements to the district’s baseball and softball complex.
The Four A’s began with a major donation from a community member in memory of the late Edward F. Sobota, a Derry High School graduate who, with his wife, Diane, founded TechSpec Inc. – now known as name of TSI Titanium. This donation was originally intended as seed money for an athletic capital project, but it sparked a larger initiative encompassing all aspects of the school district.
Including donations from other alumni and community members, the initiative has raised more than $500,000 to help with the stadium entrance and other district projects, according to Sarah Mikeska, a teacher in Derry Region Special Education and District Foundation Chair.
“Derry recently purchased drones to enhance the robotics curriculum and help students gain valuable coding and programming skills,” Mikeska said in a press release from the foundation. “The support also allowed the school district to purchase Glowforge 3D laser printers to enhance students’ technical and artistic abilities and craftsmanship, as well as other equipment to enhance our high school science and technology classes. “
The stadium project will include a new separate concession stand, two ticket offices and toilets. The current structure that houses both the concessions and the restrooms is slated for demolition.
The district may postpone the installation of new fences until later.
“Entrance is overdue for an upgrade and new aesthetic,” said Brett Miller, district athletic and transportation manager.
The design of the project presented by the consultant Axis Architecture presents buildings with a facade in the form of a castle. The concept, which could still be fine-tuned, is “based on the walls of Troy, images that our architect may have been looking for,” Miller said.
The hope is that the improved entrance to the stadium will be ready for home games next fall.
“That’s the hope,” Miller said. “In reality, we should expect delays with the supply chain issues and current economic situations that we are all facing.”
Those interested in contributing to the Four A initiative should contact Chappell at [email protected] or 724-694-1401, ext. 1403.