Skyline football stadium delayed

April 30, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

Community cheers decision

Skyline High School will not be getting a new stadium this summer.

The nearly $6.5 million stadium upgrade, part of the $219.2 million bond measure approved by voters in April 2012, was originally slated to begin this summer and be completed as early as this fall. Jake Kuper, the district’s chief financial officer, announced at the April 24 Issaquah School Board meeting that the project is being pushed back by at least one year. The reason, he said, is because of the six to eight months it will take for the district to receive a site-development permit.

“We believe, given the excavation that is needed for a cantilever roof system or a post-and-beam system, we would most likely not meet the threshold of the city of Sammamish on a simple building permit,” Kuper said.

This was not the only change. Instead of using a mixed contract approach, as originally planned, Kuper said the district is now going to bundle the entire project for a competitive bid.

The original design included a cantilever roof, a big must for members of the community because it doesn’t use view-obstructing support poles in the middle of the seating. It also included plans for cheaper aluminum seating, which was not well received by football boosters the Skyline Gridiron Club.

Now, Kuper said, the district wants to gather bid alternates for a cantilever and a traditional post-and-beam roof system, as well as concrete seating.

“Those will all be considered, put in the package as bid alternates,” he said. “So that if we do need to make trade-offs on the total $6.5 million project budget, we can do so with accurate pricing in hand.”

Members of the Gridiron Club, including its president Pam Thorsen, were part of a committee of community representatives and Skyline staff members and coaches that has been discussing the topic since July. During the April 24 board meeting, Thorsen said while she was pleasantly surprised by Kuper’s announcement, the club had felt it was being shut out of the process and ignored.

“In my book, that was kind of like bullying the citizens and the taxpayers, instead of embracing knowledgeable and willing community members that wanted to help,” she said. “We don’t mind waiting. We’ve been here 17 years in the rain. We believe the timeline now that he has outlined will give us the time to allow us to build a project like the community wants, that is doable within budget.”

In its own design, the Gridiron Club has included a cantilever roof, more storage and a concrete base with aluminium seats. In a five-page letter to the board, the club said that it also hopes the new stadium will have at least 4,000 seats, the minimum requirement for hosting tournaments.

The club is also asking that the district use a design-bid approach, which it believes could amount to about $1 million in savings.

“We should at least take the time to look at design-build. You will probably save money,” said Mike Shin, a Skyline parent. “Look at all the options, and not just spend it on design, and then you can’t make any changes.”

At the April 24 meeting, Shin and Thorsen were accompanied by about 30 members of the Skyline community, including Art Francis.

“We are asking that you consider what we bring to you, because we think we can bring to you exceptional guidance of what the community needs. It’s not what we want. It’s what we need,” Francis said. “We just want you to consider what we want. We think it’s fair. We supported you when you came to us. We hope now that you will recommit to those words and take our advice.”

With the project now being delayed by at least one year, district officials said they do not yet have an estimate for when construction will begin.



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2 Responses to “Skyline football stadium delayed”

  1. Michael Crisp on May 1st, 2013 8:52 am

    I’m very pleased to see the Issaquah School Board delay the Skyline stadium construction. Further, I hope the school board members and ISD staff members who oversee this project will sincerely listen, with an open mind, to the Skyline community members, especially the Skyline Gridiron Club, regarding the construction of this stadium. The members of the Gridiron Club are volunteers who invest many, many hours of service to the Skyline Spartan High School football program and are “caretakers” of that stadium. I value their input into stadium design over a third-party architect or even an ISD staff member. The Spartan community also has many professionals actively engaged in the construction industry and I’m confident their input can result in a better stadium that meets the long-term needs of Skyline High School and will be within or under the budget.

  2. Mrs. Kravitz on May 2nd, 2013 8:11 am

    I’m all for whatever the Gridiron Club wants, just as long as they are responsible for the cost overruns on the design build process. This time around just be sure you get the permit before you build the facility, unlike the indoor baseball training facility you had your hand in without the city or the districts knowledge. You are asking the taxpayers to trust the “caretakers” and to have confidence in the knowledgeable construction experts involved in the Gridiron Club. Gridiron Club – put your money where your mouth is.

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