School district hosts public update on stadium project

By Oliver Lazenby

The Blaine school district hopes to build a new stadium at Blaine High School in time for the 2019-2020 school year and install field turf the following summer.

The district presented their timeline during an informational meeting about the stadium on March 1. The stadium and field turf would be funded by a $12 million school levy that voters will consider on the April 24 special elections ballot.

The stadium is estimated to cost $3.1 million and the field turf $1.21 million.

Under the timeline presented, the stadium would be designed between May and July 2018. At that point, there will likely be more opportunities for public comment on the design, district superintendent Ron Spanjer said.

The district held the meeting to learn what questions the community had about the project, Spanjer said.

The stadium project, not including field turf was on the district’s 2015 bond proposal but was put on hold when bids for the project came in over budget in 2016. Since then, it’s generated a lot of interest, Spanjer said.

The preliminary plans for the stadium include seating for 1,800-1,900, updates to the concessions and restrooms and relocating the seating to the north side of the field.

Meeting attendees questioned whether the lights would be updated (not in the current plan), how much access non-school groups would have to the stadium (likely more than they do now, Spanjer said) and whether the seating could stay on the south side of the field.

“That way people would be looking out toward a brand new high school rather than a parking lot and Rite Aid,” head football coach Jay Dodd said about keeping the grandstands where they are. “If it’s not a big price difference I think that’s better long term.”

Specifics could change in the design phase, when a design firm could provide cost information for modifications.

The stadium, along with purchasing property for a future Birch Bay school, are the highest priority projects in the upcoming levy, Spanjer said. The levy also includes money for updates to the main gym complex, performing arts center and middle school, vocational building, a new heating unit at the primary school building and various other improvements throughout the district.

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