The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 7, 2013

A Don McCormack column: A big day for Heralds, Spartans

By DON McCORMACK - donmac@suite224.net
Sports Editor

— Last Tuesday was a titanic day for two Ashtabula County high schools in terms of their respective high school athletic facilities.

St. John High School’s Herald foundation announced it had received a $500,000 donation to go toward constructing a new gymnasium at the school’s new location at the former Saybrook Elementary School.

On the same day, the Conneaut Board of Education approved the construction of a $685,500 project to produce a new track-and-field facility.

The donation toward the gymnasium at St. John was made by Paula and Ronald Raymond of Cuyahoga Falls. Ronald Raymond is a private businessman and industrialist.

Former Herald Urban Meyer’s return home for the second football camp named after him and Dean Hood, a 1982 Harbor High School graduate who is now the head football coach at Eastern Kentucky University, also laid the groundwork toward another large donation.

Meyer, a 1982 St. John graduate and now the head football coach at Ohio State University, hosted a dinner Monday night at Fahrenheit Restaurant. The dinner raised another $100,000 for the school.

Work on the track-and-field facility at Conneaut will kick off before the end of the month and is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 1. If so, it will allow Spartan athletes to host home meets for the first time in many years.

It will be constructed on eight acres of land donated by Gerald and Mary Eighmy and the completed facility is to be named in their honor.

The new facility will include an eight-lane, all-weather track, long jump, high jump, shot put and discus areas, an artificial turf infield and goals and nets so the infield can also be utilized as a soccer field by the Spartans.

Vasco Sports Contractors, a company based in Massillon, will construct the new facility. Vasco Sports is known in Ashtabula County, having constructed the facilities used at Falcon Pride Stadium in Jefferson and at Grand Valley Stadium in Orwell.

With Conneaut getting an all-weather track facility, that will leave Edgewood was the lone Ohio High School Athletic Association member school in the county without such a facility to use. Geneva conducts its home meets at the Spire Institute in Harpersfield Township.

The CARE for Kids Committee, created three years ago with the goal of creating a sports complex near Conneaut High School.

Since then, the former Municipal Stadium has been remodeled into Conneaut Stadium, which includes new bleachers and a press box.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.