July 15, 2010

Castoff Stadium Enclosure Turning Into New Press Boxes for Ballfields

A local entrepreneurís self-proclaimed inability to throw anything away has proven a boon for local sports enthusiasts. Neill McKee has not only demonstrated thriftiness with his plan to provide press boxes at both ball diamonds on the Scotland County R-I properties, but heís also backed up the plan with a generous financial gift to insure its viability.

McKee, who owns pharmacies in both Memphis and Kahoka, is pulling together what normally is a heated sports rivalry between the two schools to help benefit both programs.

In a move to try to accommodate increased space demands expected to coincide with the schools transition into a larger conference, Clark County installed an expanded press box at the schoolís football stadium earlier this summer courtesy of the financing of private boosters.

When McKee learned the plans for the project called for the removal and demolition of the existing press box, a plan was quickly hatched to use the facility in Memphis.

ďThe contractor doing the work told me they were just going to tear down the old press box,Ē said McKee. ďSo out of what was going to be junk, we now have two useful structures to serve the baseball and softball fields in Memphis at absolutely no cost to the school.Ē

McKee hired a local contractor to remove the press box, basically cutting it in half before transporting the two portions to Memphis where they will be renovated into self contained units.

The new press box has already been installed at the high school baseball field and is simply waiting on some final touches on the interior.

The bottom floor will offer storage space for the field equipment and the sports teams while the second story will serve as a press box.

McKee indicated Chuck Kigar of Kountry Konnection Electronics is working on installing a sound system and other technology that will not only allow the games to be announced for fans in attendance but also to be broadcast over the schoolís internet video system.

The installation of the press box at the elementary school softball field is currently on hold. The SCR-I Board of Education voted 4-3 to deny a request by the SCR-I Booster Club to fund $12,965 of a proposed project to install the press box with a new concession stand and restrooms until February, when the booster club has a certificate of deposit that will mature.

The district estimated the project cost at $44,695 to install three male and three female restroom stalls and the concession stand in addition to the currently available press box.

Superintendent Dave Shalley indicated that the board has asked for more information regarding the project before committing to the proposal.

McKee stated he has pledged a matching donation to fund a significant part of the project along with the booster club and the school district hoping to generate additional private funds for the project.

He noted that the facility would not only serve the ball diamond but would also provide restroom access for the playground during school hours.

The project also has benefited a mobile home park in Wayland. McKee utilized the steel framework that had held the press box 30-feet above the Clark County football grandstands, to help construct a tornado shelter that will be able to hold up to 75 people comfortably.

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