Parent & Alumni Volunteers Renovate Locker Rooms

Renovations to the Panda's volleyball/basketball locker room wrapped up in January 2024. At the helm was Jason Shepherd, a Bonner & Prendie parent, 2022-23 football booster club president, and leader of recent locker room renovations for the Varsity-JV and freshman football teams. His son, Justin, a baseball and football player, graduated in 2023, while his daughter, Noelle, a volleyball and softball player, is a current freshman at Bonner & Prendie. 

What initiated the locker room renovations?

"The locker room projects started with the baseball team in winter 2022. A few parents thought we could spruce up a room the baseball team and freshman football team shared with some fresh paint. I'm somewhat handy, but not in terms of the work that was needed. I have over 20 years of experience as a project manager for Vanguard, so I volunteered to help coordinate the effort.

A carpenter who is related to a player volunteered to help. Other parents donated a couch, a television, a ping pong table, and a game counsel. Before you knew it, the baseball locker room upgrades were beyond what we had imagined. 

After seeing what baseball accomplished, Jack Muldoon, Head Varisty Football Coach, and I wanted to create a similar space for the football team. After finding a space to build a new freshman locker room, I began talking to the football parents. One parent sold construction materials and made a sizable donation; another was an electrician (Kevin Ford '89) who donated and installed all new lighting and a ceiling fan. We recruited parents to re-paint the stools and deeply clean the locker room. 

Mike Yuknek'14, a bartender at Casey's, introduced me to his then-boss, Troy Emidy, who is the owner/CEO of SL Commercial. Troy became the driving force behind the Friars Football Locker Room renovation, donating time and materials that saved the school tens of thousands of dollars. Local painting companies, owned and operated by Bonner alumni (Tom Rafferty'87 and Joe Taggart'86), also jumped in to help. It was a team effort!"

How did the Panda Volleyball / Basketball locker room renovation come to fruition? 

"After my daughter became a freshman at Bonner & Prendie and began playing volleyball, her coach emailed about a space in the gym she wanted to renovate for their locker room. So, I raised my hand to help and began making calls. My first call was to Troy. We walked through the space and pitched him our vision. Troy was happy to help and agreed to donate the labor needed to pull this off. We wanted to give the girls a space they could call their own, too.

Our game plan was to raise enough money to build an open cubby design like the baseball team's locker room. Luckily for us, the timing worked out perfectly. Sean Lee '85 from Corporate Interiors had lightly used locker-style cabinets that he donated, which saved the school thousands. 

It became a fantastic renovation thanks to many dedicated alumni, a lot of support from local businesses, including Standen Flooring, and parents who jumped in to help! Between November and January, we knocked out all of the work." 

What made these renovations a success? 

"It comes down to people who appreciate the hard work of the coaches and student-athletes, along with many proud alumni who simply want to give back to the next generation of Friars and Pandas! It speaks volumes about our community and how we rally around these projects. 

It also shows the power of connection within the surrounding community. Sherwin Williams in Havertown donated the paint. They had no affiliation with the school but wanted to help our students. Parents donate their time, resources, and services. When we needed new lighting and a new fan, a parent donated all the electrical supplies and installed the lighting. We got name plates and panda logos made for each locker, along with other wall decals. Many parents and local businesses (many B & P alumni) contributed over $2K to the project.

At Bonner & Prendie, when you shine that bat signal and say it will benefit the students, people want to help. These projects started as 'let's throw a fresh coat of paint on the wall' and evolved into something special." 

How have these projects impacted the student-athletes?

"We completed the baseball locker room in the spring of 2022, the football locker room in the summer of 2022, and the Pandas' volleyball/basketball locker room in January 2024. 

These spaces turned out incredible and feel like a college-type atmosphere now. They help with recruiting and allow space for our student-athletes to hang out and form strong bonds. 

The support from Dr. Cooke and the athletic director, Adam Marso, was terrific. They trusted our vision and allowed us to run with it, knowing very little would come from the school's budget thanks to the generosity of our alumni, families, and community.

It was a lot of fun. Seeing the expression on the students' faces made each project worth the time and effort. These projects show that people have a lot of love and support for Bonner & Prendie."