HERMON — A $100,000 donation by mixed martial arts executive Dana White to his alma mater will mean significant upgrades to the athletic complex at Hermon High School.
Already purchased is a combination multisport scoreboard-LCD message center that will be located on one corner of Pottle Field on campus, enabling the 4-by-10-foot message board to be seen by all who walk or drive up the entry road to the school from Route 2.
“Having the scoreboard there will enable us to promote not only sports activities, but all other school programs as well as meetings and other events,” said Hermon principal Brian Walsh, who has worked closely on the development of the school’s athletic facility in tandem with veteran athletic administrator Paul Soucy.
The scoreboard will have a clock that times down to the tenth of a second in conjunction with longer-range aspirations to add a running track surrounding the combination football-soccer game field.
Also being purchased through White’s donation is additional seating for Pottle Field, including a new visitors’ side grandstand and additional seating on the home side of the field that will enable the facility to seat as many as 800 fans, up from the current 550.
The 41-year-old White, who spent his senior year of high school living with family in Levant and who graduated from Hermon High School in 1987, now lives near Las Vegas and serves as president and CEO of the world’s top MMA organization, Ultimate Fighting Championship.
He spoke at the school’s graduation several years ago, and subsequently made his six-figure donation following a visit to the area last Labor Day weekend, Walsh said.
“He drove up to the school and saw all the improvements that have been made over the years, the lights, the grandstands, the entry way and the tennis courts,” said Walsh.
“Then he saw the [football] goalposts and he got really excited. He called me up and asked, ‘What can I do to help?’”
The scoreboard-message center currently is being stored by Pottle, another of the major contributors to the ongoing athletic physical plant improvements at Hermon. It is expected to be erected in time for the start of the 2011-12 school year.
“We plan to turn to boosters and parents with trade skills to reduce the costs involved in installing the sign,” said Walsh, “but the great thing about this gift from Dana is that it not only benefits the sports teams at Hermon High School but the entire community with having the message center available.
“We’re just fortunate to have so much support from the alumni, the school boosters and the parents.”