PORT ANGELES — Field Arts & Events Hall has raised more than $790,000 in donations due in part to a competitive challenge issued to the Port Angeles High School alumni.
The Field Hall board announced the giving challenge to Port Angeles High School graduates in April and the challenge will continue through June 1.
The challenge is for graduating classes to raise the most toward the completion of the estimated $50 million Field Arts & Events Hall, which is set to open to the public on July 27 as part of a grand opening weekend.
A secondary piece of the challenge is to see which class has the most individual donations to the project.
The winning class will be rewarded with complementary use of the waterfront conference center for their next high school reunion, while classes that place second for both categories will win a package of 10 tickets to a 2023-2024 season performance of the class’ choice.
“Early in our fundraising efforts, we discovered this community project really resonates with Port Angeles alumni, whether they still live here or not,” said Brooke Taylor, board president for the Field Arts and Events Hall, who is a PAHS alumnus.
“So, we decided to have a friendly competition among classes, and it has really been fun, and with two months to go, the winners are still very much in doubt,” Taylor said.
Thus far, the classes of 1972 and 1974 are in the lead.
The Field Hall board has recognized the Class of 1972 for total contributions of $187,816 and the Class of 1974 for the greatest number of individual donors at 37.
“I am a proud member of the Port Angeles High School Class of 1972,” said Gail Ralston, Field Hall board member.
“We are a very close class and I have helped organize many of our reunions; every five years since our graduation we have held a reunion and also had a 65th birthday party.
“If we win the Class Challenge, I am looking forward to celebrating our 70th birthday party next year and future reunions at Field Hall,” she continued.
“There is no bigger celebration than getting together with your oldest friends. Port Angeles’ new Field Hall, with its magnificent views of both the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is a perfect place to show off Port Angeles’ new downtown gem,” Ralston said.
Co-chairs Kim Chapman and Larry Bennett of the PAHS Class of 1974 said they are excited about the opportunity to hold the 50th class reunion at the center in 2024.
One of the most recent and largest individual donations — $25,000 — was made by Ed Bedford, a local businessman and graduate of the PAHS Class of 1965.
“I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to this awesome project as a proud member of the Roughrider Class of ’65 — arguably the best class to ever turn out of Port Angeles High,” Bedford said.
“As a small businessman in Port Angeles and having been a proud member of this community for 76 years, I encourage all alumni and business owners to consider making a contribution toward the completion of Field Hall,” he added.
“This project brings so many opportunities to benefit all. When I drive by this structure it gives me pride to see what is taking place. … I choose to make this commitment because of how many will take something away from here for years to come, both young and old.”
Those interested in making a donation in honor of their classes can do so by going to www.fieldhallevents.org/donate or call 360-477-4679.
Donors who give any amount toward the Field Hall capital campaign prior to the grand opening will be recognized as members of the Founder’s Circle.
Donors who give or pledge $2,500 toward the capital campaign prior to the grand opening will receive special recognition and benefits as Founder’s Circle Patrons.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at email@example.com.