A gift helps grow ME athletics

By Jillian Marshall

October 4, 2013 Updated Oct 4, 2013 at 12:01 AM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A gift of more than $2 million gives Maine-Endwell athletes not only a present, but an experience.

Thomas Tull, a 1988 graduate of ME, gave a $2.2 million gift specifically designated for upgrades to the district athletic facilities.

Most of the gift will be spent on building a synthetic turf baseball field, complete with new dugouts, bleachers, a press box, scoreboard and bullpens.

New stadium lights will brighten up Spartan Stadium, thanks to $300,000 from the Tull family.

Members of the community gathered at Maine-Endwell High School Thursday to learn about the new turf baseball field and lights for the multi-purpose stadium.

Some were concerned on light spilling from the multi-purpose stadium into their homes.

The athletic director said all games will start no later than 7 p.m., and the energy efficient lights will have hoods on them to focus the light onto the stadium.

"It'll add about 50 percent more use, depending on how you look at it," said Superintendent Jason Van Fossen. "Right now we have a wonderful facility, we have a lot of community groups, and our own athletes and physical education students that use it."

Van Fossen says after two tough budget years -- which included cuts to jobs and programs -- this gift brings something positive to the district.

"It's nice at the end of the day to be able to not only receive it, but to be able to turn around and watch as our students and community take advantage of this wonderful gift," Van Fossen said.

Construction on the baseball field has already begun, contractors say it will be ready by the first pitch this season.

The construction on the multi-purpose field will begin in June.