By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The board will be asked to consider contributing up to $140,000 to repair the lights at Thursday’s 7 p.m. meeting at Franklin Elementary School, 2505 S. Washington St.
City Manager Dan McKeen and Cory Delikat, director of the city Parks and Recreation Department, are expected to address the board.
The lighting system at the city-owned Civic Field at Third and Race streets is 36 years old.
The stadium hosts high school football, baseball and soccer. Some 70 percent of the field’s use is for school sports, according to school district Superintendent Jane Pryne.
Community sports leagues also use the sports facility for games and tournaments.
Lighting should be replaced in 2015, Pryne said in her recommendation to the School Board that it approve the contribution.
“Because of our lighting issue, it will not be long before we face the reality that playing night games at Civic Field will not be an option, including Friday night varsity football games,” Pryne said.
“I do not know how much longer the current lighting system will last, but I can tell you we are playing on borrowed time,” she said.
Two lights have fallen from their fixtures high above the field, several have been removed for safety reasons, and others cannot be used because they are so corroded that they can no longer hold floodlights, Delikat said Tuesday.
Some parts are so old there are no longer replacement parts available for repairs.
Many of the working lights no longer produce adequate lighting to meet safety standards on the fields, according to city officials, Delikat said.
The poles holding the lights do not have to be replaced, he said.
The estimated total cost of repairs and replacement of non-repairable parts is $400,000, according to the city’s report on Civic Field included in the School Board packet.
The City Council has set aside $60,000 and is applying for a $200,000 state Recreation and Conservation Office Local Parks grant to cover half the cost of the lighting system.
A school district contribution would help the city secure the grant, Pryne said, by “showing collaboration between the two entities.”
The city has a May 1 deadline to submit the grant application, which would include information about the school district’s contribution, if the board agrees.
In 2012, voters turned down a bond to fund lighting replacement and other improvements to the aging stadium and field.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.