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Progress

Baxter CSD sparks community excitement with transition to Bolts

BAXTER — When people think about a small town, they typically think of the school, its colors and its mascot.

For 29 years, black, white and silver has covered the city of Baxter. Next school year, the town will not be shrinking violet when showing off their love for the school’s brand new identity.

“When we talk about community identity, when we talk about Baxter, they think of CMB Raiders,” Martin said. “The Baxter community identity is extremely important to the community. This is why people get emotional when they see this change coming.”

Baxter CSD started the transition to the Baxter Bolts after they ended their 29-year athletics partnership with the Collins-Maxwell Community School District in August. Shortly after the decision, the school bolted in the transition process.

“We are rebranding. We are remarketing. We are rethinking who we are. What can we do to improve?” Martin said. “We are excited about it. He have a lot of synergy around it from our community.”

The superintendent said the school leaders first laid out a clear plan on how they wanted to execute shift to its new identity. According to Martin, Baxter CSD wanted the student and the community involved in the change.

“When it came down to identifying a mascot, school colors, the first thing that we did is we put it out, just in general, in a survey format to the community, to our students, to the staff, to anybody who wanted to respond,” Martin said. “We had hundreds and hundreds of responses. We had over 37 different ideas when we started categorizing it together.”

After the survey results were finalized, broadcasting a variety of concepts from the Railriders to the Knights, the school board and the student leadership group narrowed the logos to three finalists.

“After that, it came down to the student population. They got to vote,” Martin said. “They had the final say in what (our new identity) was.”

After Baxter K-5 Principal Josh Russell help finalize the designs, the school held a district-wide assembly to showoff their electrifying new logo, mascot and school colors in December. Martin said the community has slowly grown to embrace the Baxter Bolts.

“We knew that we would have some people who would have chosen something else. What I have seen since that happened is an amazing transition,” the superintendent said. “People who may not have loved it, are now on board with it. I think that is just improving.”

According to the superintendent, the members of the community formed the Baxter Boosters, which is separate from the CMB Raiders fundraising club, began informing the public about the transition and planned fundraising events.

“The Baxter Boosters have done an amazing job,” Martin said. “We had a letter campaign that raised between $20,000 and $25,000. It was basically a letter saying, ‘We are transitioning from CMB Raiders to the Baxter Bolts. We would like your support in getting it off the ground. Here are some things we will have to do, rebrand, repaint, new uniforms, all kind of things.’ As always, our community stepped up and did an amazing job supporting us.”

From a community carnival to stand-up comedy, the Baxter Boosters held a variety of fundraiser to raise money to help jump start the school’s transition to its new identity.

“We are really making a lot of headway to help finance and promote energy and synergy around this transition,” Martin said. “It is picking up. There are a lot of people helping move us in the right direction so we can transition into next year with great success.”

With the athletic scheduled built, the uniforms purchased and a new school song developed, the superintendent said the transition is going according to plan.

“Right now, we are working with a company to do some wall graphics and window clings,” he said. “With us changing over from the CMB Raiders to the Baxter Bolts, we knew there would be some needs to some color changes in our school.”

Baxter Hometown Pride was recently awarded eight gallons of paint by Diamond Vogel Paint and Keep Iowa Beautiful in part of the Paint Iowa Beautiful Program. The group wanted to use the paint to help kick start the rebranding at the school and Neil Sealse Sport Complex.

“In the end, we knew as part of the rebranding process we were going to have to the paint anyways. The (Paint Iowa Beautiful) grant just fit perfectly,” the superintendent said. “It is just a matter of implementing all the plans, which will start taking place the last month of school and all the way through the summer.”

Martin said the first phase of the rebranding project, which will feature the repainting of the west and east gymnasiums, and the main corridor at the school, signs, banners, and Baxter Bolts wall, stair and window clings, is projected to finish up mid to late July.

“Thanks to the community for current support that we have. It just shows what kind of community we have,” he said. “This is who we are. This our identity. We all understand the fact that making a change can be difficult from CMB Raiders to the Baxter Bolts. This is going to an amazing transition over to the Baxter Bolts.”

For more information about the Baxter Bolt’s fundraising efforts, find Baxter Athletic Boosters on Facebook.

Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at areyes@newtondailynews.com

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