Last Friday night, a culmination of many late nights and volunteer hours were celebrated when the new 12’x30’ press box was used for the first time during the Van-Far/Community R-VI football team’s home opener against North Shelby.
The box was filled with a scorekeeper, announcer, game videographers, and assistant coaches though the new facility, which is 28-foot tall in the front, is not completed.
“Just in the last three to four weeks, we’ve gone from the ground floor up to having almost all of these other things finished,” said Garry Pirch, who originally drew a pencil sketch of the proposed project. “It’s just a massive amount of effort involved and time donated.”
Pirch said Bobby Johnson, Jim Deppe, Tom Culwell, Bill Hicks, and Brandon Straube have donated “tons of hours” to the project. He said there’s been a steady crew working 6-9 p.m. on the press box in recent weeks.
“Without Bobby Johnson and Jim Deppe, we wouldn’t be as far a long as we are,” Pirch added.
Pirch added that the Vandalia Special Road District has allowed Culwell to use some of the machinery needed for the project.
LaCrosse Lumber donated tin for the roof and siding, in which there is black and gold siding on the front of the press box.
Target Windows and Doors donated the windows.
Pirch estimates some of the donations resulting in $5,000-$6,000 in savings.
ACE Hardware donated the electrical wire needed for the project.
Other volunteers have included Frank Wallace, Ken Thurman, Michael Evans, Ryan Morris’ dad, Charles McCurdy, among others.
The project started last October with work on the foundatijon. Then in April or May, volunteers started construction with the walls.
The bottom level is not complete but will feature both a men’s and women’s bathroom.
Volunteers hope to have each bathroom operational in time for Van-Far’s football game this Friday against MMA.
The men’s bathroom will have a sink, a urinal, and one stool. The women’s bathroom will have a sink and two stools.
Pirch said eventually the bathroom will be handicapped accessible. The new addition to the press box will save spectators from having to walk to the weight room building to use those bathrooms.
The second level features a big storage area.
On the third level, there is mini rooms on the ends for home and visiting coaches and videographers.
There is also a radio booth and a large booth for the score keeper and announcer. That area is higher off the ground than the older press box and gives everyone on the third level and better line of sight.
Pirch also noted that with the new press box, the view is not obstructed for anyone in the box if someone is standing on top of the highest bleacher seat.
Insulation might be donated by Thurman for the top floor in the future.
Pirch said the project has come a long way since his sketch after receiving input from many different people.
The entire project may not be completely finished until next school year.