Patriot Athletic Club gets green light for turf donation | Sports

The final approval step for Pinecrest to get a fully booster-funded artificial turf sports field was reached on Monday when the Moore County Schools Board voted in favor of the memorandum of understanding under which the club Pinecrest’s recall — the Patriot Athletic Club — will walk the entire $850,000 draft bill.

The next step for the CCP before work is done this summer at the John W. Williams Sports Complex is another fundraiser for the future. The update that the project has the green light comes at the right time as the club holds its marquee fundraising event, ‘Back the PAC’, next weekend at the Pinehurst Fair Barn, the aim “finance the need” being the synthetic turf.

“Once we finish the auction and see what we’ve raised with the fund, we’ll make the decision and see if we need to campaign for more money,” the PAC vice president said, Christa Gilder. “Our goal is to achieve more and get paid that much before. Even though we haven’t raised another penny yet, we have loan approval and annual payments are covered.

PAC, founded in 2017, has raised more than $420,000 over the past six years.

“Of those six years, two of them were COVID years,” Gilder said. “We already pay $30,000 a year for field maintenance, on top of the other things we do.”

The agreement which has been approved by the board of directors calls for the club to contribute over $600,000 towards the installation, maintenance and future replacement of the synthetic turf over the next 12 years. This is in addition to other work boosters have funded in the past, such as paying for bus transportation, maintenance of training facilities, and updates to existing facilities and team needs.

The memorandum of understanding that was submitted to the board stated that the school system will not be responsible for any costs associated with the installation, maintenance or replacement of the field at the John W. Williams Sports Complex.

“They’re not paying anything, and the school is currently paying, with PAC, for stadium upkeep,” Gilder said. “Once we put that turf in, they won’t pay anything for it. Everything will be done by the PAC.

Gilder said the paid fundraiser for the sports booster club has a goal of $150,000 after raising $120,000 last year in a virtual setting. In addition to the grass pitch fundraiser being a primary target for fundraising, other school equipment will be funded at the event.

“This year, we’re taking 10% of what the funds raise and it will go towards funding EC’s Outdoor Learning Center for the Confined Special Needs Classroom in Pinecrest,” Gilder said. “There is a small area next to their building and there is a swing. Our end goal is to try to make it a true outdoor learning space.

PAC’s payment plan was set out in its agreement with Field Turf to install 2.25-inch synthetic turf that will be the same as the turf the company installed at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte last summer.

Two goal posts will also be included in the purchase of the land.

PAC has already raised the initial down payment amount of at least $400,000 for the project, and will fund the remaining balance of $425,000 to $450,000 to pay for the remainder of the field installation.

A total of 13 donations contributed at least $5,000 towards the down payment for the sod to be installed. Of those who contributed, 12 of the donations exceeded $10,000, including $100,000 donated by Donnie and Dawn Lee, and the same amount donated by the Sandhills Patriots in conjunction with the Thomas and Lorie Van Camp family. PAC made three separate donations in the down payment, with $60,000 raised by committees within PAC on behalf of individual Pinecrest sports teams, $50,000 from the booster club’s “fund the need” campaign, and 30 $000 from the general PAC fund.

This was raised without the PAC having an official fundraising campaign.

“We plan to create one where you can donate up to $100, and we also have a plan for a bricks campaign where we would sell bricks so someone who can only donate $100 can buy,” Gilder said. “That way we can involve everyone. We have this ready to go.

PAC secured a loan from First Citizens Bank for the remaining balance needed to purchase the artificial turf. The five-year loan provides estimated annual payments of $87,000, including interest. Under the board-approved agreement to help repay the loan each year, PAC has pledged to pay $52,000 per year; added to $10,000 per year from funds raised by CAP committees on behalf of individual sports teams; the Lee and Van Camp families will each contribute $7,500 per year; Pinehurst Surgical will contribute $5,000 per year with an additional $5,000 expected to come from PAC fundraisers.

Part of the plan presented to the school board called for the PAC to also set up a savings plan to replace the grass pitch in 12 to 14 years. An estimated cost of $425,000 to $450,000 is given for the turf system to be replaced in the future. Payments into the savings plan will begin after loan repayment and will be $65,000 per year, with $50,000 coming from the PAC and the remaining $15,000 coming from a private donor.

The purchase of the grass pitch is to help provide an even surface for all 11 outdoor sports to use, from football in the fall to the multitude of spring sports that share the pitch in the spring.

The cost of upkeep and maintenance of the new turf surface, which comes with an eight-year warranty, will be covered by the PAC and will save money for the athletic department. Annual maintenance of the natural-turf pitch is estimated at $43,000, Pinecrest athletic director Jeff Hewitt previously said. The cost of maintenance during the warranty period will total $16,000 over the eight year period.

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