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Booster club makes a splash

$17K raised for purchase of timing system for BC swim team

After a whirlwind fundraising campaign, members of the Bethlehem Central High School Swimming and Diving team will be greeted by a new addition to their pool at their first home meet in January: a new electronic scoreboard and timekeeping system.

The BC Swimming and Diving Booster Club raised more than $17,000 in a matter of weeks to purchase the used system at no cost to the district, fulfilling a longtime goal of the organization.

We got lucky, said Booster Club President Dwight Cheu, who traveled to New Jersey with club volunteer Bruce Ginsburg to inspect the system.

The system itself cost $9,000, plus another $2,000 for ancillary equipment and a truck rental to transport it. It's an International Sports Timing model that is five years old but saw only light use at its former home in the Whippany, NJ Jewish Community Center. The system costs $26,000 brand new, a cost that has precluded the district from purchasing one before now.

At a Dec. 16 meeting of the BC school board, Cheu and Ginsburg proposed that the district accept the donation of the system and extra funds they had raised, and the board voted unanimously to accept it. Members of the booster club and Schenectady-based NCS Construction installed the scoreboard on Sunday, Dec. 27.

With the new scoreboard, times will be computed by six electronic touch pads at the end of the lanes instead of human monitors using stopwatches. Not only will the system make it easier to administer meets by reducing the number of volunteers required, it will be more accurate and reliable.

"It's nice for the kids to look up and see their time when they finish," said Ginsburg.

Cheu and Ginsburg both have children swimming on the varsity team. BC Athletics Director John DeMeo said that the department has wanted a new scoreboard for some time, but budget constraints had precluded getting a replacement.

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