The Kutztown Area School District proudly welcomed the public to see the area’s newest gem- the newly renovated high school and gymnasium. The ceremony hosted administration, current students, parents, residents and more than 100 Kutztown Cougar alumni on Saturday, April 22.
The improvements to the school were made to the 1959 wing of the high school and addressed safety and accessibility in various areas of the school, including air conditioning throughout, according to Kutztown Superintendent Dr. George F. Fiore.
“Most importantly, this renovation was an investment in our students’ futures and in our community for years to come,” said Fiore.
The schedule included student guided tours, demonstrations, displays of student work, student performances and faculty presentations.
The welcome ceremony was held in the John Silan Gymnasium. The newly renovated gymnasium was dedicated to Coach John Silan in 2005.
“A coach’s legacy includes more than a win and loss record, it also includes acts of kindness, caring and laying a foundation for their lives ahead,” said Lynn Silan, Coach Silan’s daughter.
Coach Silan dedicated 25 years as the high school basketball coach, ending his career with an 82 percent winning record. Silan also racked up 16 division titles; 13 Berks County titles; 8 District III titles; three Pennsylvania Class B state titles in 1950, 1951 and 1959.
Silan then asked for various groups from the audience affected by Coach Silan to stand, including athletes who once knew him, to current students and administrators who know the coach only by the plaque outside of the facility.
“A legacy is that which is handed down from the past. Years ago, John Silan came to Kutztown when he was 29 years old,” said Silan. “Everyone now standing is evidence of how one life involving discipline and dedication created that chain reaction that he spoke about in the early days of the Cougar Tales.”
Crowds of people all affected by Coach Silan were standing throughout the room.
“If he were here today, I know that Coach would tell us the same things he always did: strive for perfection, do your best, support each other and use teamwork. On behalf of my family, thank you to all of you, and it is all of you who made the John Silan Gymnasium possible,” said Silan.
Andrew Brett KAHS School Counselor, welcomed recently retired Kutztown Superintendent Kathy Metricke and Dr. Brenda Winkler, Kutztown Area Education Foundation Executive Director and retired Superintendent.
“We have so much to celebrate in Kutztown Area School District, this is really awesome,” said Metrick.
Looking to the future, Metrick and Winkler addressed the school’s next renovation project, the high school football stadium and track.
The project includes stadium lights, grandstand and press box, memorial walk, a field house building, a restroom, concession stand, new parking facilities, a new ticket booth and scoreboard. The field will remain grass.
The athletic facilities will accommodate soccer, field hockey, football, track and field, cross country, physical education, marching band and cheerleading.
The KASD Education Foundation is hosting a Cougar Pride Capital Campaign to raise additional money for the future project until August 2017, selling bricks and pavers to be included in the final construction of the facilities as a part of the walkway. The goal of the campaign is to raise $500,000 to replace the current track; increase seating capacity; meet codes; provide concession and restroom facilities; provide additional storage; improve accessibility; improve the sound system; construct the ticket booth; install new lighting and provide an all-around safe facility for students and the community.
Those interested can donate at www.kasdedfoundation.org.
Previously, it was incorrectly published that would be installing a synthetic turf for the field, but the field will remain grass.