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Input sought on athletic facilities upgrade

The Sunnyside School District is planning a road trip next week to gain comments on arts and athletics at the high school.

Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said the district has invited 60 people to participate in the field trip to gain input on whether the board should pursue a second attempt at an athletic facilities bond.

Cole said the Sunnyside School Board held a work session yesterday to prepare for the trip, set for Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 7 to 9 a.m.

Plans call for the morning to begin with a breakfast and tour at Sierra Vista Middle School, followed by a bus visit to Clem Senn Field and the high school auditorium.

"The board hasn't decided if there's going to be a bond," Cole said. "What they're trying to do is lay out the problem and get input. They haven't decided at all what the next step is going to be."

In May of this year voters rejected a $4 million bond to resurface and move Clem Senn Field, as well as build new grandstands, locker rooms and restrooms.

That has sent the board back to the drawing room to determine whether to attempt a second bond this March or find another approach, such as using $1 million in district funds for new grandstands.

One thing is for sure, and that is the district needs to replace the home grandstands at Senn Field, which the district's insurer has stated is a liability.

The auditorium is included in the tour because the district estimates it will take $30,000 to $40,000 to fully modernize it.

As a result, school board members hope to hear from the public during the Dec. 12 tour.

Athletic Director Bill Daley said yesterday that those selected for the tour represent a cross-section of the Sunnyside community, including parents, business people and city council members.

"These are people who we think have something to say in our community about our long term facilities," said Cole. "We want to get a sound voice, a clear picture of what they feel is necessary."

If members of next Tuesday's road trip feel a bond is necessary, then the board may take action as early as this month on approving a bond proposal.

If that happens, Cole said the board will hold two community meetings after Christmas to discuss the bond and gain wider input from those residing within the school district's boundaries.



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