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Athletic upgrades proposed for Snoqualmie Valley School District
SNOQUALMIE The Snoqualmie Valley School District
No. 410 recently released an athletic facilities improvement study that
would upgrade facilities at all district schools.
The study is in its preliminary stages and was released in draft
form. It was the result of six months of work by an advisory committee, which
was given a goal to assess the current condition of athletic facilities, then
create a report on the needed changes, priorities and costs.
"(The changes will create) first-rate facilities that are safe and
allow ourselves to compete, and are really the standard of the type of facility
that our kids are competing with on the Eastside," said Greg Hart, Mount
Si High School assistant principal, athletic director and facilities study chair.
Hart's volunteer committee met weekly to review the current layout
of school facilities and gather information. D.A. Hogan and Associates,
an engineering firm responsible for athletic-facility designs throughout
the county, was consulted in the process.
The committee came up with recommendations that fit into the
categories of construction/renovation projects, maintenance, adding a
facilities coordinator position and a fee-based facility-use schedule.
"It's still at the very preliminary stages, and we were saying, `If
we could do what we wanted to do, what would it look like?'" said
Rosemary Ziara, assistant superintendent for the school district.
The recommended improvements will cost $16 million and could
be done in phases.
"I would expect that we would use this study as a planning
document," Ziara said. "The second phase
would be financing plan discussions and prioritization of projects."
Financing for the projects is not clear at this point, but could include
a tax bond.
"If we were to run a bond measure, that would probably be a
year and a half away," Ziara said.
But the situation still stands that improvements are badly needed,
according to school officials.
"The magnitude of improvements will be at the high school because
the size of our stadium and the condition of the track are really not up to
the standards that our league schools have," Hart said.
Mount Si's track athletes have had to practice on an old cinder
surface while many of their KingCo opponents get to run on modern track
material. This is just one example of SVSD students not having an
equal, competitive edge on their rivals.
"When our kids go and compete on a synthetic track at other
schools, it's a noticeable difference to
them," Hart said, explaining that Mount Si High's track has some ruts, is
uneven and is not only difficult to train on, but could cause injury.
In addition, the high school doesn't offer enough field space
for practice, and its stadium is almost 30 years old and does not provide
the same functions as competing schools.
"One of the real challenges is that when we have football games,
we can't house all our fans," Hart said. "Crowd supervision and the
magnitude of the crowd is a difficult situation."
The committee recommended that the high school receive an
over-hauling of its stadium, track and fields.
Plans for the stadium include constructing a new grandstand that
would house locker rooms, weight rooms, storage space and a restroom and
concession area for fans. Renovating the grandstand area, installing
removable or retractable bleachers with new lighting and stadium equipment,
is also being considered, as is installing new high-tech turf in the
The existing turf would be reinforced by synthetic fibers by the
DD Grassmaster system materials widely popular in European
soccer stadiums that withstand use and flooding. If this turf option is
selected, Mount Si's field will be among the first in the nation to use Grassmaster.
The Denver Broncos football organization will be installing it in their new
facility that is now under construction.
The track would also be replaced with an impervious surface that
would provide acceptable training conditions and is easy to clean up after a
flood. New equipment would also be purchased for track use.
Plus, the high school's tennis courts would receive lights,
screen doors and usable water and power under the proposal. Construction of
a small fieldhouse is suggested near Meadowbrook Way, which
would have restrooms, storage, power, water and concessions.
Also planned are improvements to Mount Si's varsity baseball and
soccer practice fields. An additional practice field would be created
near Snoqualmie Elementary School and a mini fieldhouse would be added
east of Meadowbrook to provide power, water and storage.
The report also slates improvements for the district's two
middle schools and four elementary schools.
Chief Kanim Middle School would undergo additions of four
tennis courts, a fieldhouse and bleachers, and the field and track would be
Snoqualmie Middle School would also get bleachers, a field house
and four tennis courts. The school's soccer and football field would be
refurbished to provide year-round use and an elevated boardwalk is planned as
a footpath to Mount Si through the wetlands. This improvement would
keep children off of the streets, which many parents and school administrators
have said is a safety hazard.
The committee also recommended various field improvements
to Snoqualmie, Opstad, North Bend and Fall City elementary schools.
According to school officials, in addition to the school district's
4,000-plus students, the entire Upper Valley community will benefit from the
upgrades because local youth groups and community teams often use
the district's schoolgrounds for practice and games.
"We want to give everybody a chance to excel and to compete
with every other student in our league," Ziara said.
"And we want to thank all of the people who spent their time and
energy coming to the meetings and helping create this document," she added.
From here, the study has been handed over to the school
district board, which will further study the matter.