Edmonds Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By David Pan 

E-W athletic complex gets big makeover

Muddy baseball field gives way to artificial turf

 

January 16, 2020

David Pan

The new Edmonds-Woodway athletic complex includes a new baseball field, batting cage, soccer and football practice fields, expanded and relocated tennis courts, a track and filed facility, and lighting.

Edmonds-Woodway High School athletes, coaches, administrators and supporters all seemed to agree that the wait was worth it.

Five years after voters approved funding and eight months after work started on the project, the new Edmonds-Woodway High School athletic complex was officially unveiled to the public during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Jan. 9.

The multiuse complex includes a new baseball field and batting cage, soccer and football practice fields, lights for evening activities, relocated and expanded tennis courts and a throwing facility for track-and-field meets.

"It's just a huge day for athletics at our school and in our community," Edmonds-Woodway athletic director Angie McGuire said. "We're thrilled to announce the completion of this project. It's been a long time coming."

The centerpiece of the complex is the new baseball field that effectively replaces a field originally built in 1957.

"That's what the old Edmonds High School field was that we inherited and have been using ever since," McGuire said.

Stacie Hearst, the mother of an Edmonds-Woodway baseball player and a driving force behind the new baseball field and the entire project, cut the ceremonial ribbon with a little help from district design and construction manager Nick Chou.

"Stacie really got this entire project off the ground," McGuire said. "It just simply would not have happened without Stacie's dedication and tenacity to see it through."

Hearst attended and spearheaded numerous meetings and did research documenting how unsafe the original 1957 baseball field was. The muddy field did not drain well, often resulting in canceled games after rain. Players also had to deal with a number of safety hazards, such as utility poles in the outfield.

The new artificial turf baseball field has cork infill instead of crumb rubber, as Edmonds still has an continuing moratorium against crumb rubber in the city as it weights its health effects.

McGuire added that Hearst started working on the project when her son was attending Edmonds-Woodway, but she knew he would not play on the new field.

Current Edmonds-Woodway players owe a debt to Hearst, McGuire said.

"You're very fortunate that you had people to go to bat for you to give you this incredible facility," she said.

McGuire also appreciated the efforts of Chou and the district's Capital Projects team.

Chou had a lot of people coming to him with different viewpoints.

"His guiding force on this project was always what is best for the kids," McGuire said.

Edmonds School Board President Deborah Kilgore described the impact of athletics on her three children, who have attended or are attending school in the district.

"They all grew up on fields and in sports complexes like this," she said. "It kept them more engaged in school. My kids never wanted to miss a day of school if they had to miss practice."

David Pan

Students tested out the baseball field after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Edmonds School District Superintendent Kristine McDuffy said that the community will benefit from the new facility for many years to come.

"That s what it's all about – investing in our youth and investing in our community," McDuffy said.

Kilgore noted how sports bring people together.

"All the parents and other boosters, who line the field and sold concessions and coached teams and serve on boards and committees – we all come together on behalf of our kids," Kilgore said.

Work on the project started in May 2019 and the total cost of the athletic complex was $7.79 million. Verdant Health Commission contributed $600,000.

The project includes a sixth tennis court and lights for the courts as well as the entire athletic complex.

Edmonds Beacon Editor Brian Soergel contributed to this story.

 

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