Shott Foundation awards $180,500 to refurbish PVHS track

PRINCETON, WV, September 13, 2013:  Mr. R.W. “Buzzy” Wilkinson, chairman of the Hugh I. Shott, Jr. Foundation, presented a check to Mercer County Schools Thursday that will enable the PikeView High School Track and Field Program to realize a long-held dream. 

The generous donation of $180,543 -- combined with donations from private individuals, other local foundations, and funding awarded through the WV Legislature -- will enable the school to repair, clean, and resurface their 4,000 square foot track with a resilient rubberized finish. 

While the price tag for this project is not inexpensive, track coach Angie Hill says the benefits are priceless.  “Runners are prone to injuries, many of which can be exacerbated by improper running surface,” Hill said.   “Shin splints, Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, and knee injuries make up a short list of injuries that can be lessened by a smooth, resilient surface on the track field.”  

Assistant Principal Mark Godfrey agrees.  “When hurdlers and others fall on uncoated asphalt, the injuries can be severe.  This rubberized surface is smooth and has some spring to it.  And we have a lot of kids at the high school and middle school competing in track and field events.”

Hill’s program at PikeView High comprises the largest track team in the county with 35-40 athletes each year.  PikeView Middle also uses the high school’s athletic complex, and their team numbers 60 kids.

“Not only will middle and high school athletes benefit from the improved surface, it will be a bonus for all of our students and for the whole community.  We have community folks who get out and walk the track for exercise each day,” Godfrey said.

Wilkinson said the track project aligns with the Foundation’s mission:  “To improve social and economic quality of life in the trade area of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.”

Foundation board member John Shott agreed. “We are especially receptive to projects that have a strong base of community support, and this project certainly has the buy-in of the whole PikeView community,” Shott said.

“In 2010,” recalled retired PVHS teacher and track coach Paul Hodges, “we requested a Shott Foundation donation for the project.  They promised, at that time, to hold the request until we could do more fund-raising on our own.  This year, we came back with a little more than $63,000 in hand.”

According to Hodges, who now serves on the Mercer County Board of Education, the project has truly been a community effort.  “In addition to private gifts amounting to over $10,000, we received funding from the Mercer County Board of Education and generous donations from Boxley Concrete Products, Skewes Family Foundation, the Katharine B. Tierney Charitable Foundation, the Smoot Foundation, Community Foundation of the Virginias, Inc., the Bonner Scholars Community Fund, and multiple Community Participation Project awards through the assistance of WV legislators Mark Wills, Joe Ellington, and John Frazier.

“I would like to make sure that those individuals, friends, ex-athletes, etc. that gave the $25, $50, and $100 donations know that they are appreciated,” Hodges said.  “It was their support that got the effort off the ground and made it possible to approach the foundations and our local legislators for grants.”

On behalf of the Board of Education, PikeView High School, and the community, Dr. Akers accepted the check from Mr. Wilkinson.  “The Shott Foundation and all who have contributed to this project are making a real and lasting difference for the students, athletes, and PikeView Community,” Akers said.

(L-R Back) Paul Hodges, Mark Godfrey, Angie Hill, John Shott, Smokey Shott; (Front) Superintendent Deborah Akers and R. W. “Buzzy” Wilkinson