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So whose stadium is it?
POULSBO — The game of telephone was resurrected in Poulsbo this week, and its playground was the North Kitsap School District’s board of directors’ meeting.
However, this game wasn’t the goofy variety remembered from childhood years. It involved adults — parents — and the misconstrued message was one of heightened emotion and school pride: paint, NKSD and the North Kitsap Stadium.
Rumors of the school district planning to paint over all the Viking emblems and purple and gold at the stadium hit the mill on Wednesday. Anonymous flyers were passed out at the home of the Vikings — North Kitsap High — which read: “The North Kitsap School Board wants to paint over ALL of the Vikings logo on the NKHS Stadium to make it more neutral for Kingston. If you OPPOSE this action and want to keep the stadium with the Vikings on it, go to the school board meeting ... NKHS NEEDS TO BE HEARD.”
North Kitsap parents also joined in and a round of “speculative” e-mails was fired off.
In actuality the board and NKSD administrators simply had conversations — no decisions were reached — regarding ways to make the NK Stadium a more neutral, community stadium. The need for a community stadium stems from the four-way partnership between NKSD, the city of Poulsbo, Kitsap County and the Public Facilities District that brought the artificial turf installation to fruition.
One suggestion is painting over the purple and gold.
“The conversations were about it being a community facility and it needed to be reflected as a community facility. So how can the stadium be inviting and reflect shared use?” NKSD Superintendent Rick Jones explained. “How do we walk the talk of the partnership?”
Also thrown into the mix is the opening of Kingston High, as the cardinal-and-gold-clad Buccaneers play their home varsity football games at the purple and gold covered NK Stadium.
Kingston has a beautiful turf field and score board of its own, however, the facilities at Kingston are not set up to host evening varsity games. There are no permanent lights, bleachers, concessions or bathrooms. It was never intended for Kingston to have its own stadium. Having a district with one stadium isn’t a new concept, its commonplace.
The Central Kitsap School District has one stadium — Silverdale Stadium — and three schools play there. Seattle’s Memorial Stadium is home to eight schools.
At Thursday’s board meeting angry and emotion-fueled NKHS parents showed up in purple “I-am-a-Viking”-T-shirt-force to sling a little mud at Jones and the board.
“What’s the message you are sending these children? You’re sending the message that they don’t count and that their (NKHS) school spirit does not count,” said Heather Holmen, a parent of a Viking freshman and two NKHS graduates. Holmen heard about the paint from her son who informed her very “disgustedly.” “What I heard in my son’s own tone was the fact his school was going to be politically correct.”
Another rumor surrounding the paint-over political correctness was the cost. According to the rumor, $15,000 is being allocated. The board has not decided to paint the stadium or allocated $15,000 for the work.
NKHS mom Debbie DeShano took a swing at the board for the supposed $15,000 expenditure, namely Ed Strickland who was shaking his head in bewilderment at the figure.
DeShano said the $15,000 would be better applied to additional signage for all the sports played at the stadium instead of a paint job, also adding “It’s appalling that you would consider eliminating this.”
“Don’t you shake your head at me,” DeShano fired at Strickland. “These athletes are proud to play here. Would they still feel the same playing in a generic stadium? I think not.”
The $15,000 number was introduced by NKHS Associate Student Body Vice President Nathan Camp, as he said, “it costs a lot to do that, approximately $15,000.”
When asked where the $15,000 came from Camp said they were discussing the paint possibility with Athletic Trainer Chris Franklin who casually mentioned a paint job of that magnitude could cost $15,000 to $25,000.
NKHS students also showed up in color to voice their oppositions. They don’t want a generic stadium. And one of the Viking plaques at the stadium was given as a gift to long-time football coach Jerry Parrish by the ASB with ASB funds.
“We could do temporary signs or banners,” said NKHS senior Clayton Button after the meeting’s end. “I don’t know why we have to erase the paint. I’d rather have signs for both than nothing.”
When asked what they’d think about having to play home football games on an all Buccaneer stadium, their attitude changed a little bit.
“Personally I think that would be weird, for one that’s not right,” Camp said. “I’d rather play on my home turf.”
For now no decisions have been made. No paint has been purchased. No money has been allocated. The only decision reached is to further discussions.
“The folks tonight have raised my awareness,” Jones said. “More discussion will take place and it will involve a whole lot of people and the future of the Kingston facility.”