TIEC donates $5,000 to open-air gym

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

High school student still needs more than $30K for renovations

TRYON — A high school student is a little closer to his goal to renovate Harmon Field’s open-air gymnasium, thanks to a donation from the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Mason Lassiter, a junior at the Polk County Early College, plans to renovate the open-air gym as his senior project next year. TIEC recently donated $5,000 to his project as well as offered a discount on the concrete for the basketball gym’s floors.

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“I want to thank Mark Bellissimo, Sharon Decker and TIEC for their generous donation towards this project,” Lassiter said. “Thank you for promising $5,000 and concrete to our community for the basketball court.”

Lassiter has raised $8,699 for the project and has a goal of $40,000. He says he would like to have the money raised by July 2019.

Lassiter said he plans to replace the concrete first, then the basketball goals. That will be followed by having a mural painted and finally adding benches, trash cans and a water fountain.

“I plan on starting immediately after all funds have been raised,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter, of Tryon, said he has been playing basketball at the open-air gym for the past eight years. He said his senior project is designed to be something to benefit the community, and he could not think of a better way to accomplish that than to renovate the gym.

The gymnasium, which was originally built as part of the former Tryon High School and is now owned by Harmon Field, has a slick floor and broken basketball goals.

People may follow Lassiter on Instagram for updates at @mason_lassiter.

People can mail donations titled “Open Air Gym Donation Fund” to 143 Chestnut St., Tryon, NC 28782 or drop them off at the Polk County Early College in Columbus.