EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 18, 2013

Parents rally to help school gym

By Paul Tennant

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Parents, teachers and students at Kittredge School have taken on a big challenge.

They are committed to raising $100,000 to provide a hardwood floor, basketball hoops and padded walls for the new gymnasium planned for their school. Town Meeting approved $810,000 for the new gym in May, but the School Building Committee was forced to revise its plans when the initial bids exceeded that amount by 30 percent.

The town rebid the project and this time, two of the three bids received were below $810,000. The town recently awarded a contract to the firm that submitted the lowest bid, Seaver Construction Inc., which offered to do the job for $789,000.

There’s a catch, however. The revised plan calls for a concrete floor rather than hardwood. Padded walls and basketball hoops are not included.

A group of Kittredge parents decided to raise the money needed to provide a hardwood floor, hoops and padding on the walls to reduce the risk of injuries. They have estimated they will need to raise $100,000 to pay for those features, said Laura MacMillan, one of the organizers of the fundraising campaign.

MacMillan said she could not recall a school fundraising effort which sought that much money.

“We are under some serious pressure,” she said, noting that the contractor needs to know whether the group will have the money to pay for hardwood before starting work on the floor. The Planning Board is expected to consider the project Oct. 1.

The first fundraising event, Corks4Courts, will be Oct. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Stachey’s Pizza, 21 High St. This will be an evening of appetizers and wine tasting, with all proceeds going to the Kittredge Gymnasium Capital Campaign.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by contacting Cheryl Means at corks4courts@gmail.com or 978-387-6170.

Donations can also be made by visiting www.crowdrise.com/KittredgeGymnasium.

The organizers plan to ask former Kittredge students to contribute to the cause.