Sports complex suggested for Woodway fields

EDMONDS – If a concept served up by a public-private partnership hits its mark, the result could be a new sports complex in Edmonds that meets the needs of schools, recreation leagues and the community.

The Edmonds School District, city of Edmonds, King’s Schools and Sno-King Youth Club would like to partner on a multifield sports complex on the playfields and open space surrounding the former Woodway High School.

Chris Goodenow / For The Herald

Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson is one of the community leaders studying a proposal to create a new sports complex near the former Woodway High School.

Supporters include Marla Miller, executive director of business and operations for the school district; Jim Gwinn, president of CRISTA Ministries, King’s parent organization; and Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson.

Costs, timelines and other details are down the road. The potential partners still are figuring out if the project is even possible.

Figure the price to be “in the millions,” guessed Brian McIntosh, director of Edmonds Parks and Recreation. Probable funding sources, he said, are King’s, city parks-development, user-group contributions and user fees.

A conceptual sketch by Bassetti Architects, designers of the new Lynnwood High School, shows three separate fields – two for baseball and soccer and one for softball and soccer. Depending on costs and field demand, McIntosh said the multiplex could be built in one, two or three stages.

Lighting for nighttime play is a given, according to the partners. There’s talk of artificial-grass playing surfaces to reduce maintenance and improve playability. The addition of play structures, pathways, trails, a concession building, bleacher seating and restrooms to create a family-friendly play area also are on the wish list.

The wisdom of designing the fields to accommodate up-and-coming sports such as lacrosse and rugby is being pondered.

“I think everyone recognized it as an underutilized facility that has much potential as a community park,” McIntosh said.

The land is owned by the school district. It is obliged by a long-standing agreement with the state to use the property for educational purposes, district officials said.

That agreement would be honored by continued use of the school buildings by the Homeschool Resource Center and several vocational and life-skill programs, district spokesman John Boerger said.

“The district is encouraging this project,” McIntosh said, adding the “good thing is the land cost is zero” if the district antes up the site for the project.

The partner with perhaps the most to gain by co-owning additional playing fields is King’s Schools in Shoreline. The private Christian school, whose athletic program was recently named No. 1 among all Washington high schools by Sports Illustrated, can now think seriously about expanding the relatively limited number of team sports it offers, superintendent Eric Rasmussen said.

He pointed to boys and girls soccer, softball and baseball as possible additions to the high-school sports roster that’s made up of football, boys and girls cross country, volleyball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls track and boys and girls golf.

Sue Waldburger is Edmonds reporter for The Enterprise newspapers.

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