Mt. Vernon Register-News

August 29, 2013

MVTHS offers naming rights

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON – The new proposed Mt. Vernon Township High School campus will offer more than 60 naming opportunities for local companies, groups, and individuals.

Currently, the MVTHS Board of Education is putting the finishing touches on a catalog advertising these opportunities and how much they cost. The catalog will be distributed in October or November, right around bidding time for the project, said Superintendent Michael Smith.

“We're attempting to put together a program that will raise as many additional funds as possible,” Smith said of the naming project. “It's proven to be successful for other organizations and school districts.”

Naming opportunities will vary greatly in size and cost. Naming rights can be purchased for smaller items like benches and trees, or for larger portions of the campus like the gymnasium and the football field.

Smith estimated that the cost of naming rights will range from roughly $150 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the item. Even so, cost figures have not yet been finalized.

“It's truly going to be a facility for the 21st Century,” Smith said of the new campus. “We'd hope there would be several individuals interested in these items.”

So far, only one portion of the new campus has been officially named. In June, the Schweinfurth Foundation was granted lifetime naming rights for the new theater at the campus.

The naming rights were granted as part of approving a $100,000 Schweinfurth grant to help equip the new theater. Over the years, Schweinfurth has donated roughly $510,000 to MVTHS arts programs and school officials wanted to continue this relationship at the new campus.

Earlier this month, Smith presented the MVTHS Board with a rough draft of the naming catalog. Board members will now examine the document to determine if it meets with their approval or needs to be changed.

“It's in the process of being created,” said Board President Carl Miller, adding that the naming costs will be a big part of ongoing discussions. “We need to know if we want the average person to be able to afford it.”

School officials have not announced a fundraising goal with the naming project, but are hoping it will raise substantial revenue for the $72.8 million new school project.

Smith said he had great luck with a naming program he oversaw in 2001 when he was superintendent of the Manteno Community School District in northeast Illinois.

The district there built a new athletic complex and named the football field after a bank that contributed significant dollars to the effort.

“I worked in a district that had only the second privately sponsored athletic complex in the state,” Smith said.

An exact release date has not been given for the MVTHS naming catalog, but it will be made public this fall.

For more information, contact Smith at 246-5908.