Foundation fund

Kennebunk High School Sports Complex Project Receives $75,000 Donation

KENNEBUNK, Maine – A generous gift from a local foundation has put RSU 21 above its fundraising efforts for the construction of the new sports complex at Kennebunk High School.

Fresh out of their annual whipball competition on July 30, The Tommy McNamara Charitable Foundation (TMCF) recently announced that he was donating $75,000 to the project – an amount that helped the school district’s fundraising campaign committee meet its fundraising goal of $250,000.

Committee member Deb Dutton said the foundation’s contribution further demonstrates its commitment to “improving sports and recreation for young people in our community.”

“Their gift of leadership at the sports complex is emblematic of their powerful mission,” Dutton said earlier this week. “We are extremely grateful for their partnership and support, putting us above our goal of $250,000.”

On Monday, Tom McNamara, founder and chairman of the foundation, said he and his organization were “really thrilled” to be part of the project to build the new high school complex.

“There is a huge need for on-the-ground improvements in this city, and I’m happy to be part of the effort,” he said.

McNamara and his wife, Annie, started the foundation nine years ago to honor their son, Tommy, who died in 2012 at the age of 25. The organization’s mission is to “raise funds to develop and maintain quality recreational and athletic facilities for the enjoyment of youth in the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport community,” according to its website. The annual whiffle ball tournament – ​​played every summer at Lower Village Park – is the organization’s signature event. Sports and hobbies were Tommy’s passion, his father said.

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This latest donation brings in about $600,000 the foundation has given back to the community since its inception, according to McNamara, who expressed his gratitude to local donors, merchants and sponsors who have helped fundraising efforts over the years.

“We were very lucky,” McNamara said.

Construction of the new KHS sports complex in progress

The school district opened the new sports complex in June. The district has a construction schedule and other project details on its website.

RSU 21 School Board President Art LeBlanc said he and RSU 21 Director of Operations Richard Terwilliger recently visited the site.

“We are pleased to say construction is on schedule,” LeBlanc said.

New rendering of the sports complex concept at Kennebunk High School

The sports field had been in disrepair for years, needing a new track and bleachers, lights and more. The company the district hired for the project – Heimlich Landscape and Construction, of Woburn, Massachusetts – is in its eighth week of work.

“Heimlich Landscape and Construction is doing quick work on this project,” said Terwilliger.

The company removed the ground’s 60-year-old bleachers, its press box and its damaged track, according to Terwilliger. Teams also removed old turf from the football pitch along with old lights and drainage that were no longer usable. In addition, they removed some trees to make way for the expansion of the complex.

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These efforts are helping to “make way” for a new six-lane, eight-lane sprint track and a good-sized artificial field that can accommodate all school sports programs. They also make way for the new bleachers, press room and LED lights, according to Terwilliger.

Drainage work is continuing, Terwilliger added, and so are efforts to clear tree stumps and other debris. The existing stringer is also being reviewed for use on the complex’s new driving range. Additionally, crews are currently running the electricity and digging footings for new streetlights.

A rendering shows what Kennebunk High School's new athletic facility will look like when complete.

Classes won’t be the only thing starting in September – according to Terwilliger, that’s when the installation of the new artificial pitch will also begin.

“The RSU 21 facilities team is fully committed to a project that is long overdue,” said Terwilliger. “This sports complex will be a great place for all of our students, our community and all visitors. »

The new sports complex will be completed by 2023

The school board was first introduced with the concept for the new sports complex in 2020, but efforts to address safety and other issues at the site began years earlier. In 2015, for example, the district invested $250,000 in its capital reserve to renovate the track — a sum that voters approved earlier this year.

The total cost of the project is estimated at just over $4.3 million, including 10% contingency funds. The contingency — built into the budget partially approved in May — was put in place to cover a cost overrun, should it occur, according to LeBlanc.

Funding for the project includes $2.8 million from the district’s unallocated fund balance. In October 2020, the council committed $1.25 million of the district’s remaining building funds to the project.

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As for the fundraising aspect, the fundraising committee had raised about $170,000 by June, LeBlanc reported at the time. This week, LeBlanc and fellow school board member Erin Nedeau both expressed their appreciation to the Tommy McNamara Charitable Foundation for the contribution that got the committee past the fundraising finish line.

Nedeau called the foundation’s donation “generous” and highlighted the organization’s deep roots in the Kennebunks and its commitment to supporting athletics and facilities in the community.

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LeBlanc spoke about the contributions of the foundation and so many others who have helped RSU 21 achieve its fundraising goal for the project.

“This incredibly generous donation joins others who have helped make this facility a reality,” said LeBlanc.

Building a new sports complex was not an option, as the one in place for years had deteriorated and could no longer serve as a host for athletic competitions and other sporting events, “even some playoff matches. at home,” added LeBlanc.

“With the support of TMCF and the entire community, we look forward to celebrating the completion of a sports complex that provides facilities for all field sports with accessible seating for all,” said LeBlanc.

The district aims to complete the complex, new track and all, by spring 2023.