NKSD board chastises KHS over stadium

POULSBO — The North Kitsap Stadium will be a shared, multiple high school facility, or the home of the Vikings. And that’s final.

In recent weeks Viking parents’ tempers flared over rumors the North Kitsap School District board of directors had plans to paint over the stadium’s Vikings logos.

However, no brushes were dirtied, as the paint was one suggestion to make the stadium more neutral for all the community’s users.

The artificial turf at the NK Stadium and Strawberry Field was made possible through a four-way partnership with NKSD, the city of Poulsbo, Kitsap County and the Public Facilities District.

A push for a more neutral stadium is influenced by the partnership and the opening of Kingston High School, as Kingston plays its evening varsity sporting events at the stadium.

The Buccaneers have an artificial turf field but it lacks lights to hold evening sporting events, and it was never the school board’s intention to build a bona fide stadium at KHS.

The artificial turf field was installed at KHS during construction to reduce future maintenance costs, extend the life of the field and accommodate multiple sports use. Lights were also never part of the original construction plan, however, in 2005, while the field was already under construction, it was recommended the board approve laying electrical conduit, which it did.

Stadium building politics aside, KHS athletes, administrators and community members don’t care about the Viking logos at NK Stadium or whether its painted to be more neutral. They want to play their home varsity football and soccer games on Saturday’s at Buccaneer Field in Kingston, avoiding NK Stadium all together.

And some Kingston community members wonder if playing five varsity football games at the NK Stadium is really joint use.

“Nobody wants to be here (NK stadium). They don’t care if you paint that stadium pink,” KHS Athletic Boosters President Greg Wright told the board during Thursday’s meeting. “We’d much rather hold varsity football games on Saturday during the day. We ask for your support in changing the policy that all five home varsity football games have to be played at North Kitsap.”

Expecting to hear more stadium comments, the board prepared a statement aimed at once and for all burying the bones of contention surrounding logos, paint and use at the NK Stadium.

“ ... We recognize that the current District stadium does not reflect a multiple high school facility. ... Our presumption was that the staff, students and community leaders would gather together to promote an environment that welcomes and models partnerships, sharing and that embraces our good fortune of having a new school in our midst. ... After all, these are the same students that, just a year ago were YOUR students, YOUR athletes, YOUR classmates and YOUR friends,” President Melanie Mohler said as she read from the statement, before addressing Kingston’s Saturday game day request. “...The Board acknowledges and concurs that if the Kingston High School staff, students and community members would like to play their home football games on their field, they certainly may do so. However, they do so with the understanding that no further plans will be made to enhance the District stadium to reflect multiple high school use AND there will be no additional funding from the Capital Projects budget for any “stadium” type item at Kingston High School. (i.e no bleachers, no lights no concession stand, no additional restrooms, etc.”

Silence inundated the board room after Mohler finished reading. There was no further discussion as the board moved on to the next agenda item.

However, during the public comment period at the meeting’s start, Poulsbo Council Member Linda Berry-Maraist, voiced a thought of her own concerning stadium sharing.

On Oct. 17 before the Vikings homecoming football game a representative from each of the four entities gave a grief speech for the field’s dedication ceremony.

Berry-Maraist was pleased with the dedication process, but she said a follow-up is needed.

“It needs to be followed up by another process in sharing that field,” she told the board. She fears the district is trying to hard keep the field too perfect, which could limit use. “Try and relax a little bit. It’s not an ongoing state of perfection.”

The board’s statement can be read in its entirety on the Herald’s

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