Fundraising kickoff nets $6.1 mil

The Raise the Roof committee has kicked off its fundraising with a flurry of announcements of an estimated $6.1 million for the Credit Union CUplex.

The fundraising announcements were made at Western Development Museum Thursday night.

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Several groups and organizations were on hand for the kickoff, which was broadcast live on radio across the region. The kickoff included announcements of naming rights in perpetuity for two of the four components of the Cuplex.

The event was designed to formally kick off the public fundraising campaign that is designed to raise an estimated ????. According to fundraising co-chair Heath Gabruch, the event was a way to "let the community know that we are ready to get started with the campaign of individuals, businesses, residents, and know that this multipurpose facility is going to be built."

MC Harry Michael Dekker also alluded to the importance of letting people know the CUplex was for real and about to happen. He told the audience the fundraising launch was a way to get the message out to people "(who) may be skeptics that we really are building a multipurpose facility!"

The first major announcement came from David Dekker of Rawlco Radio in North Battleford, which long ago made a pledge of $1 million to the multipurpose facility, which includes $500,000 in cash and $500,000 in promotional support for the fundraising effort. Dekker announced the company had secured the naming rights in perpetuity for the theatre component, which will be named the Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts.

The theatre is named in memory of Harry G. Dekker, the longtime broadcaster in the Battleford who together with his wife Christine hosted "The Double Dekker Breakfast Club" on CJNB Radio.

Christine was in the audience as her son David paid tribute to his father, whose career in broadcasting spanned 63 years.

"Dad loved radio and the wonderful people who made it happen here. He loved his family. He was born here and the Battlefords is home to four generations of Dekkers dating back almost 95 years," he said.

"The Dekker Centre for the Performing Arts will be a lasting legacy for a man who was recognized as playing a key role in helping to make the Battlefords such a great community to live, work and play."

The announcement of naming rights for the theater component came on the closing day of tenders for the component. Mayor Ian Hamilton said nine bids have come in from across Canada, and that the pricing was competitive, and that the bids will be evaluated over the next few days.

Another major announcement came from the Battlefords and District Co-operative, Ltd., which has acquired the naming rights in perpetuity for the aquatic centre at a price tag of $750,000.

Randy Graham, president of Battlefords and District Co-operative, Ltd., said the co-op plans to finalize details of the name for the aquatic centre at a later time.

Northland Power announced Monday it has secured naming rights for the curling component, which leaves field house only element still available.

The fundraising committee has offered potential naming-rights sponsors either 10-year sponsorship opportunities for $500,000 for each component, or $750,000 for the life of the facility.

The opportunities for the life of the building were offered as a way to offer value for dollars to potential sponsors, Gabruch said, as well as raise more money.

Innovation Credit Union had earlier announced it had acquired naming rights for the overall complex of $1.5 million, again for the life of the facility. Innovation's acting CEO Susan Woods was on hand at the launch to lend her support.

Several community organizations have stepped forward to announce their support for some of the other secondary naming rights for various portions of the complex.

An emotional Scott Campbell went to the podium to announce a $150,000 contribution to one of the two indoor soccer fields in the field house, to be named Scott Campbell Field.

Campbell said he was living up to a promise he made to himself to "give back" to the community where he moved from Sherwood Park, Alta. where he and his family enjoyed the amenities at their own multiplex, Millennium Place.

The Kiwanis Club announced it had secured the naming rights for one of the box offices in the theatre for $50,000.

The Kinsmen are also on board to purchase naming rights for one part of the pool for $150,000, an announcement made earlier.

Clayton Campbell of the Association of Canadian Travellers announced his group was contributing an additional $80,000 for the curling rink component.

Also recognized were the efforts of young people to raise money in the community. Over $10,000 in donations are being provided by a group of four youths sold Gratitude Rocks to raise money for the aquatic centre. As well, Cam Taylor announced he was giving $160 of his own birthday money to the facility.

While the Raise the Roof committee is already well on its way towards its $10 million fundraising target, the announcements made Thursday represent a minority of the sponsorship opportunities.

The four levels for fundraising support outlined by the Raise the Roof committee are Friends ($500 to $10,000), Supporters, ($10,000 to $50,000), Members ($100,000 to $250,000) and Founders ($500,000), with the last category covering naming opportunities.

Friends have the opportunity to sponsor such things as a seat in the Performing Arts Centre, a storage room, an office, a soccer net and other items for $1,000. There are opportunities to sponsor a curling rock for $500, as well as life belts and life savers in the aquatic centre for the same price.

There are still opportunities available to become a "Supporter," $10,000 can get you sponsorship of a coat room or an admin office or even a clock. There's even opportunities to sponsor the washrooms.

A donaton of $50,000 buys sponsorship of a dressing room, the green room or lighting room at the theatre.

"Members" will receive major signage in the facility, with the main stage of the performing arts centre running for $350,000 and the secondary stage at $150,000. A $350,000 tag comes with the main pool and several $100,000 and $150,000 opportunities remain as well.

There are other novel ways to contribute. Rosalie Payne of the fundraising committee announced plans to raise $3 million by selling art that will be displayed throughout the CUplex from artists such as Lloyd Pinay and Joe Fafard.

All donations will be recognized on a donor wall of fame for the lifetime of the complex. Charitable tax credits are available for the donations. The goal is to raise the $10 million total by fall 2010. Gifts in any amount of money are welcome.

A website is scheduled for launch at www.raisetheroofbattlefords.com.

For his part, Dekker was happy to see the Credit Union CUplex reach this point in its development.

"To hear that we have over six million dollars now is such a great feeling," said Dekker, who noted some of the controversies and political issues that surrounded the project through its development.

Now, "it's all gone it's all behind us now as we have a location, we have the funding and we're good to go," Dekker said.

© Copyright 2018 Battlefords News Optimist

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