HOT SPRINGS – Thanks to the work conducted over the past two years by the Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame, local sports fans can expect a much more comfortable outdoor viewing experience at upcoming sporting events as the construction of bleacher seating will soon begin at Woodward Field.
Needing to raise between $50,000 and $60,000 to complete the entire project, the Hall of Fame – led by fundraising chair and former Bison standout athlete Quinten Hofer – has generated just over half that amount so far. And with the school board’s “green light” at their most recent meeting, the project is scheduled to get underway sometime next month, with the installation of 15 rows in the center of the grandstand. Those centered rows will feature 10 rows with “Bison Blue” colored backrests, and then five more additional rows without backrests. Once the remaining funds needed are raised – hopefully yet this year – additional benches without backs will be installed on both sides of the grandstand.
To help the Hall of Fame attain its fundraising goals, a letter writing campaign was coordinated by Hofer which promoted the availability to purchase naming rights on an entire row of the backrest benches for $3,000 per row.
So far, Black Hills Energy has stepped up and donated $5,000 to the cause, followed by a number of others who pledged or donated $3,000 each, including First Interstate Fall River Area Foundation, Dependable Well Service, Hot Springs Subway, Black Hills Federal Credit Union, Hot Springs Ace Hardware, Bison Booster Club, and Preston Hofer. Many other businesses, alumni and other organizations have also contributed to the effort.
“This was a huge undertaking by the Hall of Fame Committee, and the community of Hot Springs,” said Hall of Fame committee founder Carlos Cornay. “Our alumni stepped up and also gave this project a much needed boost. With the continued support from the people of Hot Springs, this project could be completed by track season 2018.”
Created in the fall of 2015, the Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame has two specific purposes – to honor past athletes of Hot Springs High School, and to also give back to the school through specific projects. For its first project, the Hall of Fame chose to raise funds for stadium seating – based in part from input by the community and school, but also from some of the Hall of Fame members’ own experience when visiting their alma mater.
“I attended a football game with my mother a couple of years ago and didn’t fully understand why she packed a folding chair to the game,” said Cornay. “After several attempts of standing and sitting, it was clear that the people of Hot Springs deserved better. The cement stadium structure is nice but the rows sit very low and make it difficult for everyone to stand up or sit. The bench seating should make the games more enjoyable for everyone, including the visiting teams.”
Cornay added that the project would not be where it is without the effort of fundraising coordinator Quinten Hofer, who has spent endless hours getting the word out and continues to solicit funding to complete the project.
“If you live or grew up in Hot Springs you may have spent time at Woodward Field on the campus of the high school,” said Hofer. “It may have been at a football game, track and field meet, school project or year-end picnic, or an evening walk around the track. Woodward Field is a place that is frequently visited.
“With amazing support from Hot Springs alumni and local businesses, donations are still being raised. The new seating will make attending an event at Woodward Field comfortable and perhaps additional events can be added. “
To help raise the final dollars needed for completion, the Hall of Fame is now offering naming rights for blocks of seating on some of the bench rows without backs. Those blocks of seats can sponsored with a donation of $500, which will then feature a small placard with the name of donor.
For more info, contact Hofer at 319-395-9542 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.