BANGOR, Maine — Preparations are continuing in advance of a formal capital campaign to fund construction of a replacement for the aging J. Henry “Hank” Cameron Stadium.
“We’re still doing preparation work in order to start our capital campaign,” said Bangor superintendent of schools Betsy Webb this week, adding that organizers of the effort hope that phase of the campaign will begin next spring.
Webb announced last December a goal to raise $7 million in order to have a new multipurpose facility built in five years that would serve Bangor school teams and city residents of all ages as well as bring high school regional and state championship events back to the Queen City.
Since then, organizers have applied for nonprofit status, a feasibility study has been conducted, and last Friday a board of directors for the Friends of Cameron Stadium fundraising group was announced during halftime of Bangor High School’s homecoming football game against Skowhegan.
That eight-member board is headed by president Kevin Griffin, owner of Roof Systems of Maine and a Bangor School Department parent. Other directors are vice president John Simpson, owner of Innovation Solutions Now, LLC; secretary and grant committee chair Carol Colson, a vice president at Bangor Savings Bank; treasurer Andrea Oldenberg, a Bangor School Department parent; grant committee vice chair Marlene Susi, a Bangor School Department teacher; Jack Cosgrove, University of Maine football coach and Bangor School Department parent; Jonathan “Gabby” Price, owner of the Corner Store and former Bangor High School and Husson University football coach; and Webb.
Already the WBRC architectural firm of Bangor has offered to provide a physical design of the proposed complex as an in-kind contribution, Webb said, while Cianbro has offered as an in-kind contribution to look at the planning concepts and develop a more precise cost for the project.
Organizers also have drawn additional enthusiasm from the results of the feasibility study conducted by local marketing experts Judith Collier and Melissa Donnelly.
“The support for the project came back extremely positive,” said Webb. “I was so pleased, as were all of the board of directors, with the response to what we’re trying to do even in these difficult economic times.”
“People look at the stadium as a very important part of the essence of the city, one of the hubs of activity in Bangor and in the greater Bangor community,” Webb added.
Cameron Stadium, built in 1944 and operated by the Bangor School Department, is home to the Bangor and John Bapst of Bangor football programs, Bangor Youth Football, other school sports teams and numerous track and field events.
Plans for the renovated facility include an artificial-turf, multisport field lined for football, soccer and field hockey, as well as a new home grandstand with seating for 6,000, a modern press box, elevator, concession stands and a locker-room complex featuring four locker rooms with individual showers, coaches’ rooms and training rooms. Players would enter the locker rooms directly from the field through tunnels at the front of the grandstand, as opposed to the present practice of walking through the crowds both before and after games to get from the locker rooms to the field and back.
There also would be seating for 3,000 visiting team fans, compared to the current 200 seats on that side of the field.
The current six-lane track would be expanded to eight lanes, enabling the facility to host major track meets again, and new lighting would be installed around the field.
“We want to have a top-notch facility while being economically responsible,” said Webb.