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S'side school expansion highlighted at Kiwanis meeting

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Sunnyside School Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole describes current and future construction planned in the district.

There's a building boom in the Sunnyside School District, Kiwanians learned during their meeting Wednesday morning.

School district Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said construction on the new Sierra Vista Middle School is on target to open for the 2006-07 school year.

With state funding higher than expected, Sunnyside will also begin construction of a new elementary school near Sierra Vista along Washout Road.

The elementary school won't open until 2008 at the earliest. Cole also unveiled hopes for a new ninth grade "learning academy," which would aid with crowded conditions in the high school.

Due to the district's student population, Sunnyside is eligible for more building funding from the state, thus facilitating the new construction.

Cole added that Sunnyside residents pay much less, two or three dollars less per thousand dollars of valuation, than neighboring school districts.

Sunnyside High School Athletic Director Bill Daley also spoke to Kiwanians Wednesday and outlined plans for a new football field and stadium.

The stadium's playing surface would consist of more durable field turf, making it just one of four such surfaces east of the Cascades, according to Daley. He added that the new stadium would sit around the existing track with full seating on both sides of the field.

"That would give us a seating capacity of about 5,000, which would open the possibilities for district and state sporting events," said Daley. Other possibilities include concerts, all-church gatherings and public events such as car shows and craft fairs.

The events that can be housed at a new facility will generate approximately $5,000 per event for gate and concession revenue, according to Daley. That $5,000 can be extrapolated to nearly $20,000 per event for area businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, he added.

No firm timeline has been set for when the new stadium would be completed, but Daley said his hope is to see football kick off at the new Clem Senn Field in the fall of 2007.

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