The six worn and weary dive blocks at the pool needed to be refurbished or replaced. Rich Kashnoski, school board member and volunteer dive coach, estimates the price at $24,000 for brand new blocks of his choice. Installation would have added to the cost.
It was a price the booster club couldn't immediately afford. Seeking advice, Kashnoski turned to a Rutgers University swim coach who suggested he find someone who works with fiberglass.
That someone was Jason Dunkelberger, owner of Steve's Body Shop in Trevorton, PA. The two met one night, talked it over and visited the pool. Dunkelberger took the job.
"If cars are made of fiberglass and we repair them, we could do fiberglass blocks as well," Dunkelberger said Wednesday inside the natatorium as the blocks were installed.It was a first for Dunkelberger. Five blocks were sanded and re-coated with resin. The sixth was built from scratch using plywood and fiberglass. He estimates about 40 hours of work.Kashnoski handed him a check Wednesday for $3,125. Dunkelberger thanked him, pulled out a personal check of his own and filled it out for $1,562.50 - donating half the cost back to the Stingrays.
Larry Deklinski/Staff Photos: A new dive block, at left, is compared to an old dive block, at right, which was replaced at the Shamokin Area Middle/High School pool.
About $13,500 remains in the booster club's coffers. They're looking to purchase a pair of timing touchpads for the pool along with a new timing board.
Kashnoski credited the Stingrays, its swimmers and their parents for remaining dedicated to keeping the pool open. It's a natural target for a school district struggling to balance an operating budget.
Shamokin Area's varsity team has 44 teens registered for the upcoming season, which begins Dec. 5. The Stingrays youth team had 65 swimmers last season. Without the new and improved dive blocks, the season could have been jeopardized.
"Never take no for an answer," Kashnoski said of the booster club's efforts.
A Chinese auction benefitting the Stingrays will be held at noon Dec. 6 at the St. Francis Club on Race Street in Shamokin.
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