By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
The Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust recently awarded $23,500 to the John Wood Community College Foundation to be used to help build a community concession and restroom facility for the school's outdoor sports field complex on the Quincy campus.
The $38,000 project is expected to be completed by summer and will be northeast of the JWCC Student Activity Center, near the baseball, softball and practice fields. The facility, part of the campus site and facility plan, will include handicapped-accessible restrooms, a concession area and storage.
JWCC's baseball field and north athletic field were built in 2007, and the softball field began hosting games in 2008. Since then, 2,000 ballplayers and fans from JWCC and the Midwest Athletic Conference -- plus more than 500 youth and community members -- have used the complex without immediate access to restrooms or concessions.
"This is a great example of how private-public partnerships can provide for capital projects that would otherwise not be funded," said Mike Elbe, JWCC vice president for student services. "The lack of a restroom and concession facility has long been a concern of our coaches, players, visiting teams, fans and parents of the youth teams that use our fields."
Currently, Elbe said, players and visitors walk to the Student Activity Center or use portable facilities, and no concessions are offered. Despite the need, the college hadn't been able to find funding to build restrooms closer to the complex, as well as a concession area.
"That's why we are so excited that the Marion Gardner Trust also recognized the need and funded the majority of the $38,000 project," Elbe said. "We can complete the final piece of the field complex thanks to their generosity."
Elbe said the Student Government Association designated $6,500 for building materials and the college will use its physical plant staff to offset labor costs, estimated at $8,000.
JWCC officials expect the added services offered by the building will draw more fans and help generate revenue to help support athletics and maintenance of the facility.
"We hope that more community organizations will consider using the fields once the upgrade is complete," Elbe said. "It is a great area for community activities, and we enjoy hosting the youth programs in the summer. It can really be a resource for the entire area."