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Aspiring Eagle Scout transforms vacant space into locker room

An unused room in the basement of the gym at Akron Central School has been transformed into a sports locker room, thanks to a member of the Akron Tigers football team who took it on as his Eagle Scout project.

Senior Joseph "Joey" Izydorczak, 17, a Life Scout with Troop 559, got the green light from the Akron Board of Education early last spring to renovate the area. He plunged into a project that cost about $5,000 and took several months, enlisting aid from about 147 volunteers including teammates, family and friends in cleaning and painting the room.

The finished room was shown in a PowerPoint presentation at the board's Oct. 22 meeting. Varsity football coach Christopher Ginestre praised Joey's "great organization skills" that resulted in a project that will benefit the school community and cost the district nothing.

Volunteers also helped Joey, who plays on the offensive and defensive lines, with constructing 40 oak lockers that measure nearly three feet wide and six feet tall, applying stain and then installing them.

Each locker cost about $150 to build, he said. So far, Joey has collected about $4,000 in "sponsorships" for the lockers from individuals and area businesses.

Among the businesses contributing is the John H. Black Company, a brick distributorship owned by Joey's father, Lawrence. His mother, Dawn, is Newstead town clerk. Wednesday, the family presented the board a plaque to be hung in the room that lists the donors.

A collection of photographs chronicling the project's development also will be hung in the locker room.

Ginestre said the room previously was used for wrestling but hadn't been used in about 10 years. He said it now will be used year-round by a variety of sports teams, even after the district completes the new gymnasium, which is part of its $25 million capital project.

A member of Troop 559 for about 12 years, Joey hopes the renovated space will "promote team unity and pride in our school and our team sports."

"This wasn't just me and my plan," he told the board. "The whole community brought this together."

Joey's Eagle Scout application has been submitted and he is awaiting a call to appear before a board of review, he told the School Board.

Meanwhile, he's still accepting donations toward the project. Donors can reach him at 542-9695.

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