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Another reason to enjoy that hot dog: Concession sales fund school activities

High school concession stands provide more than an eating option for sports fans.

Butler County school officials said proceeds from the stands help supplement the athletic department and music program budgets, and in at least one situation, reduce the cost of participating in the marching band.

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The concession stands are manned by volunteers, typically parents of athletes, band members or music students, Butler County athletic directors said. The volunteers sometimes arrive hours before the 7 p.m. Friday kickoff and usually leave well after the game has ended.

Richard Bryant, athletic director at Lakota East, said proceeds from the concession stands benefit the Athletic Boosters and provide “critical revenue” for the teams and student/athletes. He said it takes between 36 to 40 volunteers to work the stands during the six home football games.

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Besides the traditional fare, fans at Lakota East can order Chick-Fil-A sandwiches or pizza from Raymond’s Pizza, Bryant said. Since kickoff has been moved up to 7 p.m., he said more families are eating dinner at the games.

“This is a tremendous source of revenue,” he said.

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Athletic directors and school officials around the county echoed those sentiments.

Scott Kaufman, athletic director at Lakota West, said the Athletic Boosters have used proceeds from the concession stands to make capital improvements in the district. A 25-by-90 foot storage shed is being built with concession money and Kaufman believes the building will save the district money. He said equipment will be stored in the shed and out of the inclement weather. He said pole vault pits are supposed to last 20 years, but Lakota’s have been replaced after 10-12 years because of damage from the winter weather.

Last year, he said, flooring was installed in the weight room.

“This is all very important,” Kaufman said.

Every Friday, he said, about 20-30 volunteers work the concession stands for home football games.

“An army of good people,” he said.

Makayla Baker prepares pretzels Thursday, Aug. 23, ahead of the first game of the season Friday in Hamilton. The concession stand is operated by band parents and volunteers. (NICK GRAHAM/STAFF)

Similar people help reduce the cost of participating in the Hamilton High School competitive marching band, said Band Director Paul Dixon. He said the marching band is scheduled to compete in six events this year, and without the benefit of the proceeds from the concession stand, the cost per student would jump from $400 to $1,000, he said.

“Extremely important” is how he described the proceeds.

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Since the concession stands are manned by parents of band members, the band performs two shows every home game: halftime and post game. Dixon said after the game, the show doesn’t begin until the last volunteer has left the concession stand.

At Fairfield, proceeds from the food sales are shared with the Athletic Boosters and Temp Club, the music and fine arts clubs, said Mark Harden, athletic director. The money helps purchase items like equipment, uniforms and travel not included in the school budget.

“It’s a gigantic part of what we do,” he said of the revenue.

Middletown High School Athletic Director Aaron Zupka called proceeds from the concession stands at Barnitz Stadium “a significant funding source” for the district. Proceeds from the home football games benefit the band boosters, he said.

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At Badin High School, the music program handles concessions for home football and boys basketball games.

“It’s been an important source of funding for us,” said Elaina McCormick, who teaches music at Badin High School along with her husband, Matt. “I also appreciate the opportunity to interact with the parents in the music program who help with the concessions each week. That’s been very valuable.”

This year, the music program has handed the concession responsibility off to the drama department for the year.

“We’re in good shape funding-wise,” McCormick said, “and this will give the drama program the chance to get some much-needed dollars for what they do.”

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