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Lakewood to raffle camper

HEBRON – Who’d spend $20 for a chance to win a $20,000 camper? Lakewood school board members and administrators hope thousands of people would.

Lakewood Athletic Director Bo Hansen proposed a raffle to raise the money needed to transport student athletes to and from away games. Board members tasked Hansen and a committee to find alternatives to charging students for athletic transportation.

“It’s a feasible, doable thing,” said Hansen to the board. He said the brand new pull behind camper, worth $20,000, would be purchased from RCD Sales. Lake’s End Special-T’s agreed to sponsor the purchase of the tickets. The winner will be announced at the Boosters Night at the Races event Dec. 3. Raffle tickets will cost $20 each with the goal being to raise enough money through the raffle to cover transportation costs to all athletic events.

“I like it; I think it’s a grand idea,” said Board President Judy White during the July 13 school board meeting.

Hansen asked the board if its offer to advance the athletic department $20,000 for immediate operational costs was a gift or a loan. District treasurer Glenna Plaisted confirmed it was a loan that’s expected to be repaid.

Board member Forrest Cooperrider suggested keeping the payback open, depending upon how much money the raffle raises. Board member Rob Large suggested allowing the athletic department to pay back the $20,000 by the end of this year. All board members agreed to allow the raffle to take place and to give the athletic department to the end of the year to repay the loan.

Monday, Superintendent Jay Gault said he doesn’t think the athletic department will have any problem selling raffle tickets. There’s no limit upon the number of tickets sold or to where they can be sold; sales won’t be restricted to the Lakewood School District.

“They’re going to sell tickets until they’re done selling tickets,” said Gault. “So far, people are just begging for them.” He said the tickets should be available July 25 and people wanting tickets should contact Hansen at Lakewood High School and tickets should be available at sports functions and community events, such as the Millersport Sweet Corn Festival.

Gault said the athletic department needs to raise $60,000 by the end of the year–$20,000 for the camper, $20,000 to repay the school district, and $20,000 to cover additional operational expenses. However, he believes the athletic department will sell 3,000 raffle tickets, if not more. “They put together a good, good plan,” said Gault.

In other school district news:

• Many school district buildings may be mostly solar powered fairly soon. Eric Zimmer, founder and CEO of the Dublin, based Tipping Point Renewable Energy, told board members that the district would have no up front or maintenance costs and could save $650,000 over the next 20 years if the company is allowed to install a solar power system on campus. “We get paid by producing power,” he said. “If we don’t produce power, we don’t get paid,” Zimmer said a 1.2 megawatt system could produce 85 to 90 percent of the power that all the district buildings – except the administration building and Hebron Elementary Schoolrequire. AEP would supply the remaining 10 to 15 percent. “You want to stay where you’re still buying from AEP,” he said.

Board member Trisha Good asked Zimmer what would happen if Tipping Point went out of business. Zimmer said another company would take over operations, or the school district could operate the system if there were no buyers.

Zimmer said the district’s rates wouldn’t change for the first five years, then increase three percent per year afterward. The only risk to the district would be if AEP’s rates drop during the next several years, which he doubted would happen.

White said she liked the idea and asked Zimmer to come up with an end date for securing a contract and receiving power. The board did not commit the school district to contracting with Tipping Point. Board members only permitted Zimmer to continue to provide information to them.

Gault said Monday that at this point the district has “nothing to lose” by allowing Zimmer to continue; the school district is currently under no obligation to Tipping Point. He said the Southwest Licking and Licking Valley school districts are also considering solar power.

Were Lakewood to join Tipping Point, Gault said the solar cells would cover roughly four acres of district property. “It’s big; it’s really big,” he said, but the solar cells still wouldn’t be visible from US 40. They would be on the southwest portion of the property and visible from the middle school. “It’ll be hard to see it,” Gault said.

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