The Early “BEST” Club is going for a last big push to raise the funding for the school district’s “Big Room” facility.
All money for the $784,000 project must be in place by the school board meeting, Nov. 15, or the project will have to be delayed, and may never be completed.
“We’re in the fourth quarter of a play-off game with this,” said BEST Club member David Reid. “We’ve had money pledged that we’re collecting now. It’s doable. The goal’s attainable, but we’ve got to get it done.”
The club needs donations for about $80,000 beyond what’s been pledged.
Of the $784,000 needed, the Early Independent School District has committed $400,000. The $380,000 remainder is to be from private fund-raising. The BEST Club formed about four years ago, and had originally planned to build the entire facility with private money. But steel costs have sky-rocketed and fund-raising stalled.
Club members suggested a partnership with the EISD in the summer.
Shawn Russell, president of the EISD board of trustees, said the district cannot allocate more than $400,000, and after a project has been bid, there’s only 45 days to arrange for all funding to be in place.
“That 45 days is up Nov. 15, when the board meets, and if the money’s not there by then, we’ll move on to another project. If it’s delayed, then that just gives more time for steel prices to go up,” Russell said.
“We feel like people really need to get on board with this,” Reid said. “It’s not something just for athletics, it’s multipurpose and will be a facility the band, drill team and lots of school organizations can use. It’s something we can do for our school and our community that we can all be proud of.
“Any donation will be appreciated. Every donation is needed.”
The proposed complex, nicknamed the “Big Room,” will be approximately the size of half a football field, and will have an artificial turf for football, softball and baseball practices, but its most outstanding feature is that it will be enclosed under one roof.
The facility will hold student activities year round, in all kinds of weather and could also be open to residents of Early for their personal exercise or walking programs.
Any money donated to The BEST Club is tax deductible to the donor. The club is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Donations can be dropped off at the Early ISD administration office, 1080 Early Blvd. Or, Reid said, donors can call BEST Club members, who will gladly pick up a check.
Reid’s number is 647-7868. James Adams’ number is 642-7139 and Doug Chandler can be reached at 647-7620.