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Sunnyside School Board decides to tear down bleachers

After a second bond measure recently failed that would have provided money to replace the outdated bleachers at Clem Senn Field, the Sunnyside School Board decided last night to tear down the unsafe bleachers immediately.

This was the decision after Dr. Rick Cole, superintendent for the Sunnyside School District, told the board action needs to be taken on the grandstand issue.

He told the board they had four options. Noting voters had rejected two bond proposals, he said the issue is to find the funding.

His first option was to have the board consider money set aside in the capital fund. He said a company named Southern Bleachers could replace the bleachers for approximately $920,000. This would include $690,000 for the new bleachers, $61,500 to add a press box, $34,000 to add back rests to the seats and $134,000 for the foundation.

The second option was to tear the bleachers down and use the visitor side bleachers for local fans, which hold 300 to 600 people.

A third option would be to duplicate the visitor side bleachers on the homeside of the field. This would cost approximately $60,000, but seating wouldn't be adequate to accommodate the home crowd, which usually ranges somewhere around 1,800, according to Sunnyside Athletic Director Bill Daley.

To use this option and to have adequate seating, the costs would rise to at least $180,000.

The last option, Dr. Cole said, was to leave the bleachers up and take the risk, an option he said he didn't recommend.

He also added the bleachers could be taken down and bleachers could be rented from a concert company for this year's graduation ceremony.

Board member Miguel Puente said he would like to consider options two and three and board member Rocky Simmons said he would like to see the homeside get the same bleachers the visiting side has, only larger.

Daley didn't recommend duplicating the visitor side and said the whole process should go back to the drawing board.

Cole asked the board to consider what to do about the grandstands, what to do about graduation and what to do for local events.

Puente moved to eliminate the bleachers immediately and Simmons seconded the motion.

"We don't have an option," Puente said. "It's the safety issue. I don't think there is a choice. We have to take them down."

Board member Stephen Carpenter agreed with the safety issue.

"We can't waste resources, we have to take them down," he added.

The board unanimously agreed.

The board then directed the school administration to explore other options and review resources. The board would like to see short term and long term choices.

Cole said he anticipates one short term option for graduation would be to rent bleachers.

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