Funds still needed for EHS press box

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Additional contributions are necessary to make facility additions a reality

By Michael Hicks

What do high school football and an English classroom have in common? If it’s Evergreen High School, as it currently stands, the classroom is where assistant coaches on the opposing team communicate with the coaches on the field. It’s not an ideal situation, but maybe that’s about to change.

Plans are on the table to add a press box at EHS that would host assistant coaches, a public address announcer and a scoreboard operator. The only hitch — and a big one at that — is coming up with the finances to complete such a project.
Last December, the Cougar Touchdown Club voted to raise money to design a press box. Preliminary numbers estimate the cost at $100,000, which included electrical wiring for Internet services. Support came in from the school, which is committing $20,000 for the construction, and the Jefferson County School District, which is pitching in another $34,000. With community donations thus far, the total raised is approximately $80,000 toward an initial goal of $100,000. But even that may not be quite enough.
“We may not be able to build this for $100,000. We may need more than that,” said Sean O’Hearn, president of the Cougar Touchdown Club.
That’s because, O’Hearn said, formal bids came in significantly higher than anticipated, ranging from $130,000 to $160,000.
A sighting analysis, O’Hearn said, suggested that a press box should be constructed on the south side of the field — the school side — around the 50-yard line. The press box would also include two filming stations — one for each team — and a better sound system than the one the school currently uses. M&W Glass has pledged to provide windows for the press box.
“We’re on our way,” said O’Hearn, who is a civil engineer by trade. “We were hopeful to have the money in hand in order to get the press box up by the end of the summer. We thought that might be very difficult to do. By June, that’s become incredibly difficult. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the project started and by fall finish it before it snows.”
Evergreen will host three games this season — Aug. 29 vs. Lewis-Palmer, Sept. 19 against Green Mountain and Oct. 2 vs. Thomas Jefferson — and is scheduled to play five, possibly six home games in 2015, EHS football coach Rob Molholm said. That would include the Mountain Bowl vs. Conifer.
But that may be contingent on whether the school has at least a press box in place because teams don’t want to play at Evergreen High School unless there are better facilities. While it would be preferred to have a press box up and running by the Lewis-Palmer season opener, Molholm called that a long shot.
Molholm said being able to play games at home as opposed to at Lakewood’s Trailblazer Stadium brings out a larger, more supportive fan base.
“Over at Trailblazer, we’ll see the parents and a couple of kids come to watch the games. But then you see how large the attendance is at Evergreen. The kids feed off of it. The community likes it. The high school students enjoy having games there on a Friday night instead of thinking of driving down the hill,” he said.
Evergreen won conference titles two of the past three seasons, but had to play its first-round home playoff game at Trailblazer Stadium due to a lack of facilities, including accessible seating. But Molholm said if EHS can add seats on both sidelines, locker rooms on the east side to go with a press box and has enough parking for a home postseason game, that would be “wonderful.”
“Last year, we had more kids and supporters at Weld Central (Evergreen’s home and season opener) than we did for the state playoff game with Silver Creek,” Molholm said. “We would have every parent and a lot more students (if it were at Evergreen).”
Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.