In the early 1980s, supporters of the Byron-Bergen High School sports teams made an investment in student-athletes that is still paying off today.
On Thursday night, the persons responsible for the construction of the Byron-Bergen Sports Boosters Stadium will be honored prior to the girls varsity soccer game against Oakfield-Alabama/Elba on the 30th anniversity of the stadium’s opening.
In all, 13 families are being recognized, in addition to administrators that were at B-B at the time.
In particular, three men — John Jessop, Marty Krause and Bill Maurer — are being honored.
“We recommended to the school that we should celebrate 30 years,” said Renee Muoio, who has done research on the stadium’s history, with help from Maurer.
She said the three names — Jessop, Krause and Maurer — kept coming up when people recalled the stadium’s beginnings.
Jessop was the president of the Byron-Bergen Sports Boosters at the time and personally signed for $12,000 of construction materials to get things started. His late wife, Jan, was also involved.
“They used her station wagon originally to sell concessions to raise money,” said Muoio, whose daughter Makenzie and son Mason play on the girls and boys varsity soccer teams, respectively, at B-B.
She described Maurer as the true engineer behind the scenes, Jessop as having an outgoing personality who helped in recruiting donors and volunteers, and Krause as being the person who knew all the right people who might have equipment or expertise for the job.
Muoio said their mission was to “essentially build a stadium on school property that would stand the test of time.”
In all, some $45,000 was raised for construction of the stadium, which includes lights, a concession stand, bleachers and other amenities.
“They cleared that field by cutting down and selling Christmas trees. They built this stadium all at once and it never cost the taxpayers a dime,” said Rich Hannan, B-B’s current athletic director.
It’s been estimated that if they had to pay for all the donated services and equipment it would have cost $80,000 to $100,000.
This all came about a short time after the B-B school budget was voted down in 1983 and it looked like the school might not have a sports program.
There will be a tree planting as part of Thursday night’s ceremony, Hannan said. The ceremony should take place around 6:15 p.m.