Sammamish parents upset over grandstand plans

by: David Ham Updated:

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It's been two years since Sammamish voters approved a bond measure for Issaquah School District that includes $6.5 million for a new grandstand at Skyline High School.

"It's something the community has already paid for and we're wondering where it's at," said Jim Sypher, whose son is on the football team.

Since 2006, parents have demanded the district build a new grandstand.

 We checked with Sammamish city planners who told us Issaquah School District has not submitted an application for review.

 "We were going into his sophomore year and he's going to be a senior this coming year they told us the stadium was going to be built and we were going to able to enjoy it," said Sypher.

 Issaquah School District said it has the money, but just hasn't spent it on the grandstand yet.

 "It's a matter of making sure we plan it out correctly and you do have to plan around seasons and athletics and the use of the stadium as well," said L. Michelle, spokesperson for Issaquah School District.

 Boosters disagree.

 "For eight years the Skyline community has worked with the district to help pass both the 2006 and 2012 bonds (over 70 percent approval) because we believed the District was listening to the community," Pam Thorsen, president of the Skyline Gridiron Club said.  "Community plans include a cantilevered roof, with unobstructed views, concrete base with multiuse rooms that can be used both for classroom or community use, and 10 times the amount of enclosed, secured storage than the district is planning.   Many community experts have advised that building new home seating on the west side, rather on the east side, which is where the community prefers to remain, will be a much more expensive option, as it includes new access roads, moving the current entrance, and other major improvements to the site that wouldn’t be needed if the district followed the design that the community has asked for."

"We came up with a package that we felt that would meet the needs of the stadium would meet the needs of the community for the price that we could afford," Michelle said.  "Sometimes when we have a difference of a opinion when we make a choice that isn’t their choice it feels like their being shut out. it wasn't our intention to make them feel shut out."

When we asked the Issaquah School District if boosters or parents will still get a say in the design or the construction of the grandstand moving forward, Michelle stopped short of saying no.

"We felt that we've had a lot of discussion and I think we need to move forward," said Michelle.

 "Skyline Gridiron will be asking the community to step up and tell the School Board who are the communities elected representatives, that the district staff plan is unacceptable and not meeting the community needs.  Other actions are also being considered to stop this misuse of long-term taxpayer dollars,” said Thorson.

Issaquah Schools plans to start construction on the grandstand by late summer.