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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

stadiums' infield.

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

upgraded.

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.

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