CHARLES TOWN—Months ago, supporters of the Washington High School baseball program were discussing its number one priority: a press box for the Bruce C. Davidson Field, but the price tag was an unaffordable at $60,000.
Today a brand new press box, gleaming with the Patriots’ signature blue, stands behind home plate, thanks to a team of community business owners, the Baseball Boosters organization and school personnel.
It was a community effort in every sense. Members of the Baseball Boosters, the nonprofit support organization for the school’s baseball program, had some unused grant money, but it wasn’t enough to cover the bill. Even with its best fundraising efforts, the group knew they’d never be able to raise the difference and still fund other activities, equipment and necessities before the season started.
Kevin Pansch, vice president of the Baseball Boosters, and Kevin Weaver, owner of Third Day Builders, offered to spearhead the effort.
“They had a set of plans but there was no way they could afford that, so we talked it through and figured out what size the press box needed to be, how much money we had to work with and how to accomplish it with the allocated funds,” Weaver said.
Weaver and his partner, Doug Romine, got right to work, soliciting from their own pool of building vendors to bring the project to completion under budget, largely with donations of time, materials and discounts.
According to Weaver, Larry Sirbaugh’s Masonry was instrumental in laying the block, Bucky Chapman from Bucky’s Concrete donated the material for the footers and slab, and Shane Rogers of Pro Build donated trusses and other necessary components.
Joe Starkey, coordinator of maintenance services for the Jefferson County Board of Education, donated the door and paint.
The booster organization led two field day efforts where parents and players helped Weaver prepare the area for the press box, install the trusses and plywood, paint the structure, and spread gravel around the bleachers.
The resulting two-story structure provides shelter to baseball personnel upstairs while providing storage space underneath for field equipment. The group was also able to add concrete steps with handrails from the top of the hill to the bleachers, making the sloping landscape much easier for spectators to navigate.
Weaver and his partner generously donated 100 percent of their labor and equipment. He estimated hundreds of hours were donated by the volunteers and vendors, if totaled.
“If it wasn’t for everyone helping and donating materials and time, we wouldn’t have been able to build it,” Weaver said. “We all wanted to do it for the kids, to give them the best facility to play ball.”
Weaver admitted he has a soft spot for baseball. He was once a player himself, and expects his son to go farther than he did. Most of the volunteers were former ballplayers, have kids who play for the high school, or hope to make the team in the February tryouts.
Athletic Director Bo Bundrick said the Washington athletic department “is extremely pleased” with the new press box at Bruce C. Davidson Field.
“This new structure will allow our announcer, scoreboard operator, and game personnel a protected area from the harsh weather conditions plus add much needed storage space underneath,” Bundrick said.
He was also appreciative of the volunteer effort and said donors involved with the project will be recognized on a sign permanently attached to the structure.