For years, the Dulaney Sports Boosters have lamented that the school's stadium didn't match the quality of the student-athletes who played on it or the school that it represented.
"It's well-kept, but very plain looking," said Kim Hoffman, president of the Dulaney Sports Boosters.
But now, through fundraising that began in 2005, Hoffman said the group is in the final stages of funding a stadium improvement project that includes a new entrance to the stadium, a new press box and more bleachers for fans of the school's football, soccer and lacrosse teams.
"We're really enhancing the look of the stadium as you walk up to it, just bringing it up to the quality of athletics we already have at Dulaney," Hoffman said.
The renovation, which began under the tenure of former boosters president Jeff Arrington, transforms the appearance of the stadium from the outside and provides a new viewing experience from the bleachers.
"We're going to be moving the bleachers so that when you walk into the stadium, you're right at the 50-yard line," Hoffman said.
Another set of bleacher seating will be added and a modern press box above the new entrance allowing for online broadcasting of games will be built.
Hoffman said that through several fundraising projects, the boosters have about $50,000 saved. However, until bids for the construction come in, it's unclear how much the final cost of the project will be. It's estimated the project could cost between $80,000 and $100,000.
Hoffman said that design plans from Sanders Design P.A. in Cockeysville were created in September and the group began a final push in December.
"We're getting down to the nitty gritty," Hoffman said. "Those of us who are working on it are very excited about it. It's not a huge project. Its not turf, it's not lights, but this is something we can do to improve our stadium."
The final push for funds has been multi-pronged, Hoffman said.
Athletic Director Mike Lafferty, who she said has been instrumental, is trying to expand a program of advertising banners that would be available for paid sponsorships.
Also, the boosters have emailed the school community to drum up support for an brick sponsorship campaign. The bricks are currently being laid next to the field's snack bar. Under the renovation design plans, the bricks will be moved to the walkway leading up to the new entrance.
Hoffman said new bricks cannot be added to the design once the renovation is complete, so families wishing to sponsor bricks must do so now.
Lafferty, a 15-year veteran of his post, will leave when the school year ends. He said he's seen all of the stops and starts in the stadium renovation project during his tenure, and hopes that before he goes, the project plans will be approved.
"I've been working on this for so long," Lafferty said. "I'm just trying to leave this at a point where all it has to do, is be done."
"Our realistic goal was to have all this approved this school year and start subsequent construction this spring."
While the boosters work to raise money, Lafferty has been acting as liasion, meeting with the school system's facilities department to make sure the boosters know what is needed for the project. He most recently met with facilities officials in December.
"We've always been successful raising money for smaller projects, but this is a larger item," Lafferty said. "We try to do it completely on our own … but when this (renovation project) gets done and the school is able to set their sights on larger things, whether it be lights or turf, that'll really start making the school stand out, and it deserves it."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun