Former West Liberty High School graduate, Brad Akers, and his wife Mindy are giving the school $25,000 for the new athletic complex.
The gift will help fund the home softball dugout and clubhouse and will also contribute to the matching requirement for the West Liberty Foods donation. Brad and Mindy have three children, Macy age 22, Kinzie age 17, and J.T. age 16. Macy is a 2019 West Liberty High School graduate and Kinzie and J.T. are current students. Brad works as a realtor/developer in eastern Iowa and is excited about what this means for West Liberty.
“This project is going to be a game changer for the school and West Liberty,” said Brad. “I work with families looking at different communities to call home, and one of the first questions they ask is about the school and specifically athletic programs.”
Besides making West Liberty more attractive to families looking to move, Brad said the project is already building up the West Liberty brand and image.
“It’s great to hear about this project in other towns,” said Brad. “I have several projects outside of West Liberty and people are asking about it. It’s getting noticed.”
The Akers family has a long tradition supporting community initiatives. Brad’s grandmother, Betty Akers, was very active in the community volunteering for and donating to several organizations. Brad and Mindy said the decision to support the athletic complex was easy.
“We have three kids and our oldest is now moving back to the community,” said Mindy. “West Liberty should be a place our children want to return to when they are ready to settle down.”
Even though the Akers’ own children will be graduating by the time the project is completed, Brad says he is still excited about new complex and happy for West Liberty youth to have this opportunity.
“Our kids will not have much opportunity to use the new facilities, but that’s OK,” said Brad. “I attend a lot of sporting events and we are happy to support a project will benefit so many West Liberty youth.”
All three of the Akers children participate in sports, and softball has been a big part of their lives. Kinzie plays on the varsity team and Macy is returning to coach a 12U youth team this year.
“Strong youth programs are exactly what we need to build championship high school programs,” said Activities Director Adam Loria. “Having alumni like Macy come back to help our kids is awesome. The Akers family does a lot for the community and putting their name on the softball dugout is a perfect fit.”
Macy said she had a great experience at West Liberty and is happy to give back.
“I had amazing coaches,” said Macy. “I’m excited to be part of building our programs and giving back to the next generations.”
The softball program has done well in recent years, but Mindy noted that all sports are climbing in performance right now.
“The soccer field will be huge,” said Mindy. “Right now, it’s difficult because our field is not regulation and the kids have to adjust when we go to other schools. We have good sports programs and our teams do well. Imagine what we could do if we had competitive facilities.”
The school put the first phase of the project to bid in early August and expects to select a contractor in the next couple of weeks. They expect an official groundbreaking sometime in mid-September.
“Things are moving along,” said Superintendent Shaun Kruger. “We put the RFP out on time and bids should be in on schedule. Once we select a contractor, we can start groundwork. We had a great meeting with Brad, Mindy, and their children. The community support has been overwhelming and getting a $25,000 gift from a local family is outstanding.”