Raising Cane's is raising funds for new Nordonia High School turf

April Helms
Akron Beacon Journal

MACEDONIA -- A restaurant specializing in chicken fingers is helping the Nordonia Hills City Schools raise some scratch for the high school's new turf. 

Raising Cane's, which is expected to open a restaurant this spring, will donate $50,000 over 10 years, or $5,000 a year, in an agreement with Nordonia Athletics, said Rob Eckenrode, the athletic director. In exchange, the restaurant will have advertising rights on the back of the stadium's press box, which faces Route 8. 

"There will be several other advertising items provided to Cane's such as PA spots and program advertising," Eckenrode said. "Nordonia Athletics is extremely excited to have Raising Cane's as a major sponsor for our turf project. We can’t wait to get our hands on,  and tummys full, of their delicious chicken fingers."

Macedonia Mayor Nick Molnar said that Raising Cane's "is moving along nicely and still has a target of late May opening."

The chicken fingers restaurant will go into the former Steak-N-Shake location on Route 82.

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So far, the district has been able to raise about $217,000 for the new turf, or about 52% of the $415,000 needed, during the district's first two months of its fundraising campaign, Eckenrode said.

"My ultimate goal is to not have to use any general fund money to pay for the turf," Eckenrode said.

Michelle Bellanger, the  NEO Marketing adviser for Raising Cane's, said the restaurant aims to be active in the community.

"Raising Cane's is really excited to partner with the school as much as we can," Bellanger said. "When this came up, it wound up being perfect timing. We are just happy to get involved."

One major sponsorship is still available, Eckenrode said: Naming rights to the field. For $100,000 over 10 years, or $10,000 a year, the sponsor "would have their business name and logo sewn into the turf," and the field "would be named 'xyz' field at Boliantz Stadium." Other sponsor advertising perks would be included, he added.  

Any businesses interested in this sponsorship should call Eckenrode at the athletic office, at 330-908-6000.  

"We are also looking for fundraising agreements at lower levels," Eckenrode said. "We have already received sponsorships from local businesses Inline Technology Services, SC Fastening and Jackson Heating & Cooling. Their support of our turf project is greatly appreciated and we are pleased to develop these relationships as well."

More:Nordonia schools hit pavement for new turf

Eckenrode said that the district has entered into agreements with area businesses and organizations in the past, such as its "agreement with University Hospitals to provide the district with athletic training services."

Individual and family donations also are being accepted, Eckenrode said. For details, visit nordoniaathletics.org and click on the post titled “It’s Turf Time!”

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com