Church raising funds for football bleachers

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By Stephen Swofford

This October, Evergreen High School might be able to host a home football game for the first time since 1978.

The school, whose current bleachers seat a little over 300, may be getting larger, portable bleachers with the help of Journey Community Church, Conifer High School and the Jefferson County school district.

Conifer and Evergreen high schools will share the bleachers, which can seat 2,000 people.

The church is raising funds for the bleachers by hosting a movie night on the first four Fridays in July on the Conifer football field. Admission to the movie nights, which kick off at 7 p.m., is free — sales of hot dogs, advertising on the movie screen and silent auctions will fuel the fund-raiser. Attendees should bring a blanket or lawn chair and are encouraged to supply their own drinks (though no alcohol is allowed).

The church is aiming to raise $20,000, which it hopes the district will match.

“In Texas, if you don't have a stadium, it's almost a capital offense,” said Pastor Michael Cheshire of Journey Community Church. “I was just appalled that there was no stadium in Conifer or Evergreen.”

The church has been holding services at Conifer High for eight months, and when parishioners heard of plans to buy bleachers, they were more than happy to lend a hand.

Conifer High principal Mike Musick also is happy to have the church's help in raising the funds.

“We're excited to have them; this is a great thing to do up in the mountains,” Musick said.

The bleachers, known as “tip and roll” bleachers because of their portability, will cost a little over $40,000.

While the district is hoping to provide $20,000, finding the funds has been difficult, said Cheryl Humann, executive director of the capital improvement work committee.

The church, however, isn't worried about raising its half of the funds. Last year, Journey Church held a similar event in Denver to introduce itself to the community and drew surprising numbers, Cheshire said.

“We've had a lot of success with this. Last year we averaged 600 people every time,” Cheshire said.

So far, the community has shown a great deal of interest in the fund-raiser, and the church has already raised more than $5,000 for advertising on the big screen from Wendy's, King Soopers, Starbucks and Western Union, plus donations from the Denver Broncos for the silent auctions, according to the event website, www.conifermovienight.com.

All of the movies are aimed at families, and games for kids are planned during the silent auction.

“It's not about religion, even though it's being run and funded by a church,” Cheshire said. “It's just a great way to meet the community.”

If the events are successful, Conifer High will host next year’s football game against Evergreen, and the schools can start holding graduations on the football fields, Musick said.