Vandalism delays track project

NK student, island student arrested for vandalism.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND - Bainbridge Police on Tuesday arrested an island student and a North Kitsap student, suspected of using a motorized cart to damage the freshly laid track at Bainbridge High School Friday.

According to a police press release, information provided by a Bainbridge student led police to interview a 15-year-old Bainbridge student believed to be a passenger in the cart, and a 16-year-old North Kitsap High School student believed to be the driver.

Both were arrested for first-degree malicious mischief and transported to Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center, the release said.

BHS Principal Brent Peterson said contractors discovered damage to the track Saturday, and believe the vandalism was carried out Friday night.

Perpetrators apparently gained access to a golf cart-like vehicle left on the site, and drove it around the track, Peterson said. The cart was attached to a construction trailer, which dug up large chunks of the rubberized surface.

Peterson said the damage will further delay the resurfacing project, already a month behind schedule. The damage has forced BHS to relocate a scheduled Friday football home game to the opponent’s field in Juanita.

“We’re definitely concerned about how this will impact our ability to get this project done,” Peterson said, “and we’re certainly very disappointed that someone would do this type of damage to this great facility that we are trying to get opened up for everyone.”

Fortunately for the project, damage was done before the finished rubberized layer was added. Contractors will be able to patch the damaged areas and move forward with the final layer.

Peterson said dry weather is needed to finish the surfacing, so it is unclear how soon the track will be completed. In a worse case scenario, Peterson said, the track’s opening could be pushed into spring. BHS’s track team begins practice March 2.

The track had already been damaged by intruders this year. Earlier in the project someone walked past “field closed” signs and onto the track, leaving marks in the still-soft rubber. Peterson said the same cart had also been tampered with in the past.

The construction project has been barricaded by metal construction fencing and locked up at night.

Administrators estimated the damage from the Friday night incident at $20,000.

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