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BHS grid Dawghouse effort has $300,000

Bearden High School Football Booster Club has led the way in raising “about $300,000 or a little over” toward the funding of a roughly $750,000, 10,000 square foot cinderblock fieldhouse, to be called The Dawghouse.

“It’s going pretty good,” BHS football head coach Brad Taylor said, adding an unnamed “lady” has been hired to do “a feasibility study for us right now” concerning fund-raising options for the remaining roughly $450,000.

“She’s going to lay out all her details on what she’s found; I think she’s been very pleased with what she’s found,” Taylor added. “She’s gone around and talked to some alumni, some potential donors.”

If this “lady” were hired to head fund-raising, “It would be like a 12-month campaign on her part. She seems real excited about it and thinks we can get it done,” Taylor said. “We’re getting a lot of alumni involved that are interested in helping us out making donations and getting some of their [former] teammates to help us out as well.”

Groundbreaking timetable? “We would reasonably hope by spring [2010], I think,” Taylor said, adding former BHS football head coach and program activist Jim Smelcher “thinks we can finish our fund-raising in six months. You’re looking at maybe three or four months or less once you start groundbreaking.”

BHS reportedly is one of only two county football programs without a fieldhouse or “updated facilities,” Taylor said.

As for Dawghouse features as part of the $750,000 price tag, “There’s not a lot of frills involved, it’s just [the cost] of the building,” excluding such costs as new lockers and flooring, Taylor said. “It would be a locker room that would house both our varsity and our freshmen, and then offices, a meeting room and a weight room, storage and a training room.”

The Dawghouse would be located on the north side of the football practice field “in a wooded area” embankment leading up to the gymnasium/school.

Bearden also continues to sell bricks, with names inscribed, for the “The Coach Bill Wilson Dawg Walk” leading from the Dawghouse to Bearden Stadium, which honors the late BHS coach credited with inspiring The Dawghouse effort.

“And we’re looking to sell lockers [sponsors name inscribed],” Taylor said.

Taylor said Smelcher is helping tap into former Bulldogs “from the 60s and early 70s, there in a time in their life where they can do some philanthropy type work. Their kids are grown and out of school.”

Taylor said BHS “has not really looked at doing a loan, those can be kinda tough for schools or organizations within the schools to do. Banks just aren’t real interested in doing that. … holding somebody accountable for that can be tough if someone reneged on their commitment.”

Helping the process, Taylor said, is Community Tectonics Architects, a Knoxville firm that “has drawn up our plans, they donated it to us, about a $40,000 donation just in plans.”

Taylor also praised the efforts of BHS Foundation president Buddy Heins and Booster Club president Blake Moore.


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