Memorial Stadium to get turf in '08

The timeline for renovating the Bainbridge High School stadium has left the district with a choice of two unpopular options.

If construction begins in the spring, the new field would be ready for the fall sports season, but the senior class of 2008 wouldn’t have the traditional stadium graduation.

If the project breaks ground after graduation, construction will erase some, if not all, of the Spartans' home football schedule next fall.

For now, administrators are sticking with the latter option.

“That completion date will wipe out most our opportunity for home games next season,” BHS Principal Brent Peterson said. “There’s no getting around that we’ll be spending most, if not all the season on the road.”

The plan for new stadium improvements was unveiled at the School Board meeting Thursday night, and included a resurfaced track, new raised seating for the visiting team and an artificial turf field.

The board, which included newly sworn-in directors Patty Fielding and John Tawresey, decided to schedule a vote of approval for the project for the Jan. 10 meeting to give the public a chance to weigh in.

Tamela VanWinkle, the district’s director of capital projects, said the proposed timeline will have demolition begin June 19 and construction run through mid-October, meaning the football and soccer teams will have to find somewhere else to play.

Normally that place would be North Kitsap High School, Peterson said, but this year the neighboring school is also renovating its fields.

“They may not have home games either,” he said.

Board members pointed out that along with the Spartans losing playing time before a home crowd, the school’s booster club would lose out on concessions revenue from games that can attract in excess of 2,000 spectators.

VanWinkle said these were all issues she would be talking to parents and staff about as she refines the project’s schedule.

“Obviously I still have a lot of talking to do,” she said.

Aside from timing conflicts, district staff has been working to address environmental and health concerns raised by community members.

Melinda Reynvaan said the district had received numerous phone calls from islanders concerned about the level of toxic elements in the crumb-rubber infill used in most artificial fields.

She told the board that after reviewing available studies, including those sent to her by concerned citizens, she was reassured that the turf would be safe.

“Some of the scientists I talked to at (the University of Washington) said you should be much more concerned about runoff from Highway 305 than the condition of these fields,” Reynvaan said.

The field plans will go through environmental review before permits are submitted to the city, including a comment period in early January.

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