All that now stands between equity among Fairfield Warde High School and Fairfield Ludlowe High School -- as far as a baseball press box is concerned -- is fundraising dollars. The Board of Education gave its clearance for a press box in late January.

The Warde booster club will need to raise somewhere between $50,000 and $70,000 to make the press box a reality, according to Warde baseball varsity coach Mark Caron. It is hoped most of that needed funding can come from the sale of signs/banners that will be placed on the permanent fencing along the right field side of the baseball diamond and possibly the temporary, and less sturdy fencing, that is placed in the outfield. However, money will also be raised via a concession stand sale ( noon to 8 p.m.) at the FCIAC basketball games tomorrow at Warde; a silent auction at a March 13 kickoff dinner; and Little League clinics that anyone in the community ages 6 to 12 can sign up for. The next clinics will take place July 13 and July 20.

Caron said the BOE's recent approval is an important first step in the effort to have a press box like Warde's crosstown rival.

It will provide media some shelter when covering games, shelter the team's scoreboard operator, and house maintenance that has to be lugged from school closets to the field every time before a game.

"It will save us a lot of time and allow us to take better care of our fields," he said. The baseballs take a lot of "bad hops" right now, and many infielders have been hit by the balls, because the field is often rock hard, according to Caron. Having rakes and water nearby will go a long way to eliminate this.

The press box is proposed to be a one-story structure. To make it a two-story structure, Caron said, would necessitate making it ADA-compliant and that would make it a much more expensive proposition. An elevator, he said, would need to be installed if it were two stories.

Caron said there is great value to having a press box, be it one or two stories. He said when his athletes play on other fields with press boxes, "it gives them a little more energy, a little more desire, a little more excitement to come to the field." Athletes' names can be announced. Music can be played.

"It adds to the ambiance and presence of the field," Caron said. "It gives the feel of a big time baseball field."

There have been no real discussions yet on what to do with the exterior of the structure, but Caron would love to see the Warde colors, or the Warde symbol (a Mustang), applied to a wall or walls.

Caron said the athletes don't complain about their field (or the lack of an associated press box) but he has noticed that when his group walks onto Darien High School's new astroturf field, visits Trumbull, or plays at the field at Harbor Yard, "they get more excited because it's something they don't get to see every day."

Eric Linderman, president of the Fairfield Warde Baseball Booster Club, said a press box "is just something we'd like to add to enhance the field and enhance the experience."

He said of the planned fundraising campaign: "We're going to be aggressive but we're also going to be smart about it. The school will have final approval to make sure the company, business or product [being advertised] is appropriate for the school audience."

The signs, according to a letter Blinderman wrote to the Board of Education back in November, will measure four-by-six feet. Donors will be offered a one- or two-year plan, with prices to be determined. The signs will be hung prior to each varsity game and will be taken down following each game.