Grand Lake Pledges $300,000 To New Stadium

Pictured from left are Greg Adams, Executive Director of the St. Marys Community Foundation Mike Makley, St. Marys Athletic Director Jim Hollman, Grand Lake Health President and CEO Kevin Harlan, St. Marys Superintendent Bill Ruane, Roughrider Philanthropic Association Treasurer Dan Burke and RPA member Zach Ferrall.
Sports Editor

In what may be the most substantial private donation ever pledged to St. Marys City Schools, Grand Lake Health System, one of the largest employers in the St. Marys community, has agreed to pledge $300,000 to the Roughrider Philanthropic Association’s Athletic Complex Project. The pledge was announced Thursday.

The generous gift will also secure major naming rights; effective immediately, the football field at the will be known as “Grand Lake Health System Field” with the opportunity to renew this name after 10 years.  

Additionally, starting in 2020, the Memorial High School gymnasium will be known as “Grand Lake Health System Gymnasium,” also for a 10-year period. MuroTech, which has had the naming rights to the high school gym since the school was completed in 2010, is on the last year of its 10-year naming period, which was announced in a St. Marys Board of Education meeting earlier this year.

“Grand Lake Health System strives to provide opportunity and access to high-quality healthcare in the Grand Lake region,” Grand Lake Health President and CEO Kevin Harlan said. “We hope that our commitment to health and wellness provides peace of mind and a better quality of life to our community. We also know that in our community our local students and their athletic endeavors are a crucial part of the quality of life and general wellness. When we were approached by the RPA and saw the progress and plans for the project, we knew it aligned very well in our vision.  We are proud to be a part of it.”

With the pledge, the RPA continues to close the gap toward its $3 million goal in this phase of the Roughrider Athletic Complex project, which has seen the home stands and pressbox constructed during the winter months as efforts continue in getting the stadium ready for the Western Buckeye League Track and Field Championships that the school will host May 8 and 10.

While many naming opportunities have been secured with large donations from local businesses such as Superior Credit Union and Parker Hannifan Corporation in the last month, some remain, including the name of the complex/stadium as a whole.

Pledges are tax deductible and able to be paid over five years.

It is also common for schools to give naming rights to businesses for their athletic complexes. In Bellefontaine, the school’s renovated football stadium is called AccuSport Stadium, while at Findlay High School; the school’s newly-developed track and field stadium is called Cooper Tire Track and Field Complex. Greenville High School’s football stadium with recently-added turf is named Miami Valley Hospital North Stadium and Avon High School’s field is call Joe Firment Chevrolet Stadium.

“I’ve said before that our athletic facilities act as a front porch for our community,” St. Marys Superintendent Bill Ruane said. “When visitors come to our community and see ‘Grand Lake Health System’ on our field and in our gym, we should be proud that our front porch features an employer that epitomizes service to others.
“On behalf of the St. Marys City Schools, I thank them for their substantial donation.”

Grand Lake Health System was established in 1953 as a joint venture by community leaders to build and establish a medical center for the people of St. Marys, Noble, German and Jackson Townships.
Currently, the hospital has grown to include more than 800 medical professionals, 150 physicians, 12 affiliates and 10 Centers of Excellence and the health system remains committed to providing exceptional quality medical care.