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‘Sunny’ times in Sunnyside

Celebrating Sunnyside yesterday in style were a number of community members and dignitaries. A large group traveled by bus to see all the great projects taking place in Sunnyside, beginning with the downtown revitalization project underway. Those taking part in the event were led by City Manager Don Day with the flag salute. Mayor Jim Restucci spoke to the group, saying “This is an exciting time for Sunnyside.” He spoke about former Mayor Bill Brightcloud’s vision for Sunnyside. Brightcloud believed paving the streets would bring forth infinite possibilities for the city. Its current leaders, said Restucci, believe the revitalization effort will further that vision. City leaders took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking of the downtown renovation project at Sunnyside’s Centennial Square before embarking on a bus to visit Sunnyside High School. Currently being constructed at the school are additional classrooms and a multi-purpose facility. The additions were made possible via an $11.4 million voter-approved bond from 2009, as well as state matching funds due to increased enrollment in the district. Sunnyside School Board Director Dylan Gardner said he is proud of Sunnyside residents for investing in the education of local youth. Washington state Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) spoke, as well. Noting he is a SHS alumnus, he said “I am proud of all the changes and opportunities being provided to students here.” Washington state Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger) added a few words, as well. “This project is a testament to the community’s dedication to the education of its students.” A ribbon cutting took place in front of the expansion before the group was provided a sneak peek at a couple of the classrooms inside the two-story building and the multi-purpose building. There will be two Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classrooms on the ground level of the two-story building, as well as several other classrooms to expand learning opportunities for students at SHS. The multi-purpose building includes an 8,000 sq. ft. gym that can be used for wrestling practices, as well as numerous other activities. The tour group visited Sunnyside Community Hospital next, learning the hospital is planning to add an intervention radiology suite to its facility. The suite will contain equipment that allows less invasive, image-guided procedures. Doctors will be able to treat patients with a number of disorders, including blockages in the cardio-vascular system, with the equipment. Dr. David Shoemaker said, “It’s exciting to bring cutting-edge medicine to the community.” Sunnyside Community Hospital officials concluded the announcement with a groundbreaking for the new suite. After refreshments, the tour group traveled to the Port of Sunnyside’s operations facility for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new anaerobic digester. The project will help the Port of Sunnyside expand its wastewater treatment facility’s capacity. “It will double the capacity of the sequencing batch reactors, allowing growth for industries in Sunnyside,” said Port Commissioner Jim Grubenhoff. A stop at the Sunnyside campus of YV-Tech was next for those celebrating the city’s growth yesterday. The group toured the new campus, enjoyed gumbo prepared by culinary students and heard a few words from YV-Tech Director Craig Dwight. He praised Sunnyside Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rick Cole, Honeyford and Chandler for believing in the vision of providing a technical skills center for Yakima Valley youngsters. Cole said the idea was first developed in 1992, but many years of diligence and tenacity were required to make the idea a reality. The center was dedicated with a ribbon cutting followed by a meal. The last stop on the tour was Sunnyside’s new fire station. Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham said the station is the realization of his career goal. “It was my career goal to have a new fire station before Bob Johnson retired,” he quipped. Markham prior to a tour of the facility told those gathered that he is proud to have a station that provides firefighters a safe, healthy environment that is equipped with modern technology and apparatus.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Sunnyside City Manager Don Day addresses those participating in the Celebrating Sunnyside tour yesterday. A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the downtown revitalization project kicked off the tour.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Rep. Bruce Chandler (left) lauds the community for supporting educational opportunities, as Superintendent Rick Cole stands by his side.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Community members and leaders enter the newest addition to Sunnyside High School’s two-story building.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Braven Bendzak of the Sunnyside School District shows those touring various projects in the community one of several classrooms being added to SHS.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

An 8,000-square foot multi-purpose gymnasium is part of the newest expansion to Sunnyside High School.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Dr. David Shoemaker (right) and Sunnyside Community Hospital CEO John Gallagher announce the hospital’s plan to add a new intervention radiology suite to its facility.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Sunnyside Community Hospital board members and staff break ground for a new intervention radiology suite.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Preparing a meal for those participating in the “Celebrating Sunnyside” tour yesterday are YV-Tech culinary student Meghan Marquez of Grandview and instructor Ned Walsh.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

YV-Tech Director Craig Dwight (right) addresses those taking part in a tour of the campus yesterday. The tour was part of a celebration of all the projects taking place around the city.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Port of Sunnyside Director Jay Hester (left) is served gumbo by YV-Tech Culinary Instructor Ned Walsh and student Meghan Marquez.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

YV-Tech nursing student Angela Whitis of Sunnyside High School lauds the community for supporting the construction of the skills center, stating students have a better learning environment.

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Photo by Jennie McGhan

Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham talks about the new fire station during the last stop on a tour of the community.

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