Leaders of the West Virginia University Marching Band will have a new and improved perch to observe practices when the Pride of West Virginia convenes in August to begin the 2010 season.
A $50,000 gift from alumni Dan and Betsy Brown, along with support from the College of Creative Arts’ Office of the Dean, helped fund a new 32-foot rehearsal tower at the band’s practice field next to the WVU Coliseum.
Built by Educational Steel Products of Noblesville, Ind., the tower is complete with two viewing balconies and OSHA-approved stairs and railings.
“The old tower, which we affectionately called ‘the crow’s nest,’ only had an 18-foot viewing level. It was quite difficult to get a good view of the back sideline and the outer sections of the field, and it would occasionally sway in the wind or when people would climb up its old ladder,” said Jay Drury, marching band director.
“The new tower will not only now provide a safe and sturdy viewing platform, but will also allow an improved view of the field and the band during rehearsals. The secondary viewing balcony also will allow additional access for other members of the staff to have a better vantage point, which will improve efficiency during rehearsals,” he added.
A new and improved sound system and additional lighting fixtures are the final pieces of the band tower upgrade, which will be completed this summer in time for August band camp.
“Dan and Betsy Brown are wonderful friends and patrons of the College of Creative Arts and WVU. Their generous support has enhanced the education of our students in many ways, and now they have contributed to making The Pride an even better marching band – and that is saying a lot,” said Dean Bernie Schultz.
Dan and Betsy Brown both graduated from WVU in 1959. Dan earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Business and Economics and after a long career retired from the Capital Group Companies, Inc. Betsy received a bachelor’s degree from the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences and is currently a member of the WVU College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee.
The Browns are charter members of the Woodburn Circle Society and their contributions support a wide variety of programs at WVU.
Following the establishment of Brown Family Faculty Development Funds in both in the College of Business and Economics and in the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, the Browns have branched out to become philanthropists of truly institutional scope.
In 2002, they established the Dan and Betsy Brown Lecture Series with the intention of attracting distinguished individuals to campus from a broad spectrum of disciplines. That same year, they provided funding for renovation of the Dan and Betsy Brown Guest Suite at Blaney House.
In subsequent years, the Browns gave much needed support to WVU athletics for facilities improvement projects, including the Dick Dlesk Soccer Complex and the Athletic Learning Center.
More recently, they have added WVU Career Services and Student Affairs to the long list of programs touched by their generosity, with gifts funding the placement of Career Services kiosks throughout campus and the construction of facilities for Adventure West Virginia, a unique outdoor orientation program for first-year students.
The College of Creative Arts and the WVU Alumni Association have also benefited from the Browns’ wide-ranging philanthropic vision. In 2009, the College of Creative Arts dedicated its newly renovated Betsy and Dan Brown Photography Laboratory and Betsy and Dan Brown CAD (Computer-Assisted Design) Laboratory at the Creative Arts Center. A generous gift from the Browns provided these state-of-the-art facilities for students studying art and theatre design.
The Browns’ most recent gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.
WVU Facilities Management oversaw demolition of the old tower and construction of the concrete pad and retaining wall needed to support the new structure.
Educational Steel Products, formerly known as Band Towers Unlimited, has designed and built high-quality structures for many top high school and university bands across the country, including Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Mississippi State.
CONTACT: Jay Drury, WVU Marching Band
304-293-4841 ext. 3156
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