The Tipp City schools community will be hearing a lot more from the Tipp Pride Association in coming weeks as fund raising efforts are stepped up for the new stadium at City Park.
Schools Superintendent Gretta Kumpf, Athletic Director JD Foust and representatives of the Tipp Pride Association discussed at a Jan. 27 press conference what happens next after the Board of Education voted Jan. 23 to build at the park.
The Tipp Pride Association was formed by residents to raise private dollars for the project. It has filed for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Kumpf said that while the need for stadium improvements had been discussed for years, major obstacles included where to put it and how to pay.
With the board vote, the location question was resolved. The formation of Tipp Pride has brought together district residents interested in raising the dollars privately, she said.
She thanked the city and the city council for working with the district on the project. The council has supported verbally a plan to provide an estimated $350,000 toward the project including in-kind services.
Kumpf praised Foust, the district’s new athletic director this school year, for embracing the project.
Foust said he saw the need for improvements with his visit to the 1940s stadium at City Park. “I knew from day one it would be a task of mine to update our facility,” he said. Noting the “rich tradition” of the stadium and activities at the park, Foust added, “It is only right we are continuing to keep it at City Park.”
A committee of representatives from the schools, the city and Tipp Pride worked with architect Mike Ruetschle on drawing up a stadium proposal. The city and schools shared the $20,000 cost for a look at feasibility of locations near Tippecanoe High School and the park and detailed cost estimates for each site.
The cost estimates before the board at its Jan. 23 meeting showed the park location at $5.6 million and the high school at $7.4 million.
“With the support of the city, Tipp Pride and the community, I am confident that we will ... get this accomplished for our kids,” Foust said. He also noted that a new stadium would be for more than athletics and provide a boost to programs including the schools’ band and its competitions.
Scott George, vice president of Tipp Pride, said the group planned to partner with the schools and the city to design and construct the stadium. The group, he said, has looked at other district where stadium projects were completed successfully using private dollars.
George said the organization believes it can raise around 50 percent through naming rights and sponsorship packages and the remainder through donations from a variety of sources and its fund-raising projects. In-kind services also will be sought to help reduce costs, he said.
Mashell Stith, Tipp Pride Association president, said a widespread effort would be needed to raise the funds. “It is going to take all of us ... to get this done,” she said.
If projects would have to be prioritized, Foust said they likely would begin with the new turf.
George said Tipp Pride is exploring possible financing options through a bank to allow for all construction at one time.
More information on the Tipp Pride Association and its efforts is available at www.tipppride.com. The group also is on Facebook.