District brings in Chartwells for large sporting events


Melanie Macioce and Lidia Edwards

Chartwells, the company that runs the school cafeterias, is teaming up with the athletic boosters for the PIAA District 3 Cross Country Meet being held on Oct 31 at the Big Spring Cross Country Course.  They have been called in to help with sports concessions once before, but Saturday  is meant to be a trial for future athletic events.  Chartwells will assist with feeding the crowd in addition to the typical parent-run concession stand.  The Cross Country program has voiced many concerns with this decision, especially with who is getting the profits.

Athletic Director, Jay Hockenbroch says that bringing in Chartwells was “a joint decision that I was involved with.”  He also states that Chartwells has worked before with the athletic department for banquets, and bagged lunches.  Hockenbroch said, “We have never hosted Districts before.  Our immediate concern is to make sure that all of the fans and participants needs are met.”  He is responsible for the logistics and said, “I have spent a lot of hours and efforts to try and be fair about things.  I am trying to make this a win-win situation.”  Between the two concession stands, there are only four shared items: coffee, water, yogurt/ice cream, and large cookies.  His main goal is to “make sure that it’s a great event and people want to come back.”

Some runners and their parents are very opposed to Chartwells selling during the meet, thinking they will lose profits for the cross country program.  Fawn Bennett and Ella Pagel, both freshman runners, said, “It’s ridiculous.”  Senior runner, Josh Line said, “ It is becoming a monopoly.  They are invading sports teams rights and it should be made sure they respect others.”  Other runners feel the same way.

Mike Reifsynder, Middle School Cross Country Coach, believes that bringing in Chartwells for the District 3 Meet is not a bad idea.  He has a positive outlook on the future partnership between Chartwells and the athletic boosters.  Reifsnyder is not concerned with where the profits are going since the cross country stand won’t be taken away.  His overall opinion on the Chartwells/Cross Country disagreement is that “the whole thing was a misunderstanding and could have been avoided if there had been an earlier discussion.”

Hockenbroch addressed the concerns that the cross country program has with Chartwells selling food at the meet.  He said “Cross Country was never told that concessions were their only fundraiser.  The School District signed a contract with District 3, not the Cross Country Program.”  Hockenbroch has attended previous District and State meets, and there has always been more than one vendor selling food.  Another point Hockenbroch stresses is, “We are not teaming up with Chartwells to lose money for athletics,” instead emphasizing his opinion that Cross Country will benefit from having the meet held here. The Cross Country program will receive profits from their parent-run stand, but the Athletic Boosters will earn profits from the Chartwells concessions.