The Kingsland Athletic Booster Club (KABC) has offered the Kingsland school district a $14,000 donation to go toward an electronic information sign to be located in front of the school.

The donation would leave about $14,000 more needed to complete the project, which was included in the 2008 building project, but taken out due to budget constraints. Alumni and various civic organizations have previously donated approximately $12,000 in funds to be earmarked for the sign's eventual placement.

The KABC offer, approved at the board's May meeting, is contingent that the school board commits to the project and a completion date, said Patrick Pokorney, a KABC board member. It is the desire of the KABC board of directors to have the project completed by the first day of school 2014-2015, but that is subject to approval and at the discretion of the school board to initiate a specific date for the project. The board is expected to discuss the issue at its June meeting.

"KABC is willing to work with the school to assist in funding projects, or administration of the fundraising, however the school sees fit," said Pokorney. "We know at times it is easier and that we as an organization may have more man hours available for a special project than do members of the school administration."

The sign that the school district has considered for the past several years features a message board accompanied by a knight signifying the Kingsland mascot, but no specific sign has been chosen yet because cost remains a factor. Kingsland School Board Chairman Doug Plaehn acknowledged during the May school board meeting that $50,000 is in the general fund, but that he feels that money is better spent on technology, curriculum and other district needs.

KABC's board determined that now is the time to pursue its purchase and installation as a way of showing Kingsland school pride.

"As the KABC board members have begun to look at projects for the upcoming school year, and having been approached by the school administration previously about potential contributions to the project, and also knowing that the school has obtained donations of nearly $12,000 previously from groups and individuals that is just sitting with no activity toward completion, we felt it was a project we could help get behind and hopefully bring to a successful completion," said Pokorney.

The total project's original estimate was $40,000 with all installations, Pokorney stated, noting that the remaining balance began at $28,000 but will be $14,000 after KABC's contribution of $14,000. It is uncertain if the $40,000 estimate is still valid as the plans for this sign and initial location were determined at the last remodel and building at the school.

Pokorney and KABC chair Stacey Rath feel that the sign will add value to Kingsland's Spring Valley campus by attracting the attention of passersby.

"I believe an electronic information sign will be an effective way to communicate all school activities and times, not just athletic events, and serve the community," said Pokorney. "Additionally, the sign proposed will be an attractive focal piece highlighted with a knight statue serving as a reminder - to all of our community and our guests - of our knight and school pride."

Rath concurred, "A sign will help keep the communities and parents informed of upcoming events. It's just another reminder of events and we want to keep everyone informed."

In speaking with potential sign manufacturer and installation crew, Pokorney said KABC believes it is possible for them to install the sign in 30 days, prior to the school year.

"The nice part about that is we can start the school year off with a new piece that will be new energy to our school and information to our community," he said. "With the KABC commitment of funds, we are hopeful the school will agree to move forward with plans to complete the sign, and if no other funds are raised from additional individuals or groups, the school will be able to get their sign built costing the district about 35 percent of the total. In other words, the collective donations have raised 65 percent of the estimated cost of the sign.

"We look forward to working with the school administration in finding a solution to bring this project to a successful completion - further decisions and discussion on the school board moving in a direction on this project will get addressed by the facilities committee at their monthly meeting, with the next opportunity for the school board to act being their June meeting."

KABC has contributed to Kingsland's athletic programs throughout the district, according to Pokorney, and has recently begun a scholarship program for graduating seniors, this year disbursing $3,000 in participation scholarships to all student athletes that meet the specified criteria. KABC was started several years ago by a group of parents for the betterment of the school and its athletes.

"Our current membership and board shares that same dedication and commitment in keeping the course and making our school and community a better place," said Pokorney. "KABC is committed to being a community-based organization that supports athletic programs, student athletes, and school administration.

Through gambling partnerships and other fundraising activities the organization financially supports the schools' athletic department obtain equipment and items that are not required for participation within an event or sport, but help the training and development process for athletes. At other times, support of school activities can be with a donation of time - a visible reminder most are familiar with is the homecoming parade, noted Pokorney.

"KABC is a proud supporter of our athletic programs and activities, our school district, and our community," said Pokorney. "We are a volunteer organization that relies a great deal on parent involvement and participation."

The club, which is open to anyone, is now seeking membership for the 2014-15 school year. It is also seeking donations to the sign project. Anyone who wishes to donate to the project may contact Rath at (507) 273-8470 or Pokorney at (507) 951-3887.

"Everyone who joins KABC loves their school and to show their support! We all work very hard to support our school and its athletes," added Rath. "We want to see great things for Kingsland."