WEST LIBERTY SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES THREE MORE MAJOR GIFTS AT THE ATHLETIC COMPLEX GROUNDBREAKING
WEST LIBERTY, IA – On Tuesday, October 4th at 4:00 pm the West Liberty Community School District hosted a groundbreaking at the site of the new athletic complex. Many community members and donors turned out to celebrate the historic moment. The entire site could be viewed from the event and crews were busy on phase I groundwork. The district planned the groundbreaking to recognize donors and give updates on the project, but they also announced three more major gifts to the complex. Adam and Tammy Feldman of Atalissa donated $25,000, Deepak Giri donated $100,000 and the Melick Family through the Melick Foundation donated $150,000. Superintendent, Shaun Kruger, said this puts total dollars raised at just over 1.6 million dollars.
“We only have a short hurdle to go,” said Kruger. “These gifts were a huge boost to get us over 75% of the way to our goal. The district wants to publicly thank all three donors and will run releases about each of the gifts, starting with the Melick Family.”
Filmore Melick was born in West Liberty, IA in 1920 and was united in marriage to his wife, Marjory, in 1950. They lived almost their entire lives in West Liberty and contributed significantly to moving the community forward through volunteer work and financial contributions to various projects. Filmore and Marjory established the Melick Foundation to support their philanthropic efforts and the Foundation is distributing the $150,000 according to their wishes. Filmore passed away July 1, 2020, and the Foundation is now managed by Marjory and one of their sons, Jerry. The Melicks have four children, Jerry, Jeanne, Brad, and Bruce. Jerry said Filmore would be very happy about the new athletic complex.
“My father graduated from West Liberty High School in 1939,” said Jerry. “He was on the track team and had a short stint on the football team. He felt strongly about supporting the school district and would be very proud of the new athletic complex and it’s benefit to the whole community.”
West Liberty is very important to the Melicks and supporting the community has been a priority throughout their life. Financial gifts to several key organizations – including the West Liberty Fire Station, the West Liberty Community Center, and Simpson Memorial Home - have made a lasting impact on the town. Filmore was most proud of Liberty Park, the industrial park located on the south end of West Liberty. The Melick Foundation is now gifting significantly to help the schools.
“It’s really incredible to think of the impact one family has had on West Liberty,” said Kruger. “They worked hard their entire lives and have generously supported institutions that impact every age and demographic of this town. Generations of students will benefit from their gift.”
The funding from the Melick Foundation will mostly be used for technology needs for the athletic complex and athletic and fine arts programs. The new facilities will include several much-needed technology upgrades and give West Liberty a competitive advantage over other districts.
“Right now, West Liberty ranks at the bottom of the list when you compare our facilities to the other schools in our conference,” said Activities Director, Adam Loria. “The district has done as much as it can with what we have now and it’s time for an upgrade. Now we will be able to offer our athletes and fine arts students programs and opportunities comparable to or better than the other schools in our conference and around the state. It is time for this project.”
Loria continued to thank the Melick's and highlighted the boost to fundraising.
“This is the third largest gift we have received,” said Loria. “It is amazing to have our top three donations coming from a local business and two family foundations. I never expected that and I want to personally thank the Melick family for their support.”
Filmore and Marjory Melick have contributed financially to West Liberty, but they’ve also served countless hours as volunteers. Filmore spent ten years as a volunteer on the West Liberty Fire Department. Among other organizations they support, they were active at First Church United, and Filmore was a member of the West Liberty American Legion. Jerry said they are very grateful for all the volunteer support the district receives.
“We know how much volunteer time goes into supporting the district and we are thankful to all those involved,” said Jerry. “My parents were both active volunteers throughout their lives and my father was always appreciative of the volunteers that serve the school district throughout the year. The school districts that have high levels of volunteer and financial support perform the best.”
The groundbreaking for the new complex concluded with some comments from Bill Cline representing the Ryan Trust, and Paul Hill, Chairman of the Board for West Liberty Foods.
“I live in Ellsworth, over by Des Moines,” said Hill. “Even in the western part of the state people are impressed with West Liberty Schools. The dual language program, this new complex, and many other uniqueness make you stand out. West Liberty offers something for everyone and provides for every individual and demographic. That’s really something and we are proud to be a donor to this project.”
Shaun Kruger, West Liberty Superintendent 319-627-2116
Adam Loria, West Liberty Activities Director 319-627-2116