There to help celebrate a $10,000 donation from McEleney’s Auto Center in Clinton to the Clinton High School Booster Club Thursday was (from left) Mark Chasey, John McEleney, Ken Kroemer, Tim Hartsock, Tom Kelly and Gary Lueders. The money will used for new field turf at the Clinton High School football field.

Ben Jacobson/Clinton Herald
Herald Staff Writer

McEleney’s Auto Center recently announced a $10,000 donation to Clinton High School.

The money, half of which was donated by the dealership’s Toyota corporate partner, will help place new turf at the CHS football field.

John McEleney, president of the dealership, said the company is always looking for ways to help local schools operate extracurricular activities.

“With tightening budgets, it’s become so hard (for schools) to get funds for non-academic programs,” McEleney said. “We think schools are a tremendously important part of the community. We were happy to participate.”

His company applied for a corporate grant program, that provides matching donations to community betterment projects. The new field turf seemed like a good fit, McEleney said, because it would provide a benefit to several athletic programs at the school. Toyota corporate apparently agreed, and wrote a matching check for $5,000.

Ken Kroemer, a member of the CHS athletics booster club, said the field turf project will cost about $800,000, and that more donations were needed. But contributions have been strong enough that the project has moved ahead of schedule by nearly a year. Construction should begin in the spring of 2013, and be ready for use by the fall football season.

“We have to complete the (donation) campaign now,” Kroemer said. “This is kind of the kick off for that.”

FRK Architects will put together a blueprint for the new field, which will allow the district to solicit bids for the construction portion. Kroemer said that the ground in the field will have to be dug down about 18 inches to allow for a layer of rock and piping.

Only a few hiccups remain in the design process he said. The field will quickly shed water during heavy rains, and is unclear if an existing ponding area is capable of handling the added flow. Final design decisions may incorporate other contingencies to prevent flooding.

Gary Lueders, district activities director, said the field will benefit several athletic programs. In addition to football games, the field should be able to hold up to practice sessions from multiple teams, and will allow the CHS soccer team, which has utilized Ashford University’s campus for games the past few years, to return home.

The new field, depending on how heavily it is used, should have a lifespan of up to 15 years.

Follow Ben Jacobson on Twitter @BJacobsonHerald.

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