It’s been decided. Elma High School will continue to use Davis Field for its fall sports home games in 2014 — including four home football contests.
The school board approved that plan at its March 11 meeting, while also acknowledging that the aging grandstand there will come down as planned this summer. The district will soon seek bids to demolish the 800-seat structure that has stood since the mid-1940s.
As for how Davis Field will accommodate fans this fall, those details remain up in the air, according to several district officials.
“We will play our four home games next year at home and not travel to another field to play these games,” said Rick Rakevich, Elma’s athletic director. “So, when we take the stands down, we want to preserve the light poles so we have lights for those games.”
Montesano will play host to this year’s Civil War game with Elma — as well as next year’s Civil War game; in an agreement ironed out last year since Elma hosted the game two years in a row because of construction in Montesano. The games will be played in front of the new $1.6 million grandstands at Montesano’s Rottle Field.
As for seating and other amenities — such as bathrooms and concession s — those details will be ironed out by school and district officials in the weeks and months to come.
“Everything is up for discussion,” said Rakevich.
“We’re taking one question at a time,” said Superintendent Howard King. “And the first general question was whether we’re going to have the games here or somewhere else.”
Now that it’s been decided, said King, “There are other questions that flow from that, so now we have other bridges to cross. We’ll have to prepare that piece of land if we decide to bring in metal bleachers or whatever happens next.”
“We’re looking at that now,” said Rakevich of seating possibilities. “There’s a lot of options out there, from that (bringing in metal bleachers) to building something.”
Bathrooms will likely be of the porta-potty type, said King, and according to teacher Christi Kershaw, plans are being made to create some sort of concession stand. The concession sales at Davis Field are used to fund such student-based programs as the Associated Student Body and FFA.
“Some materials have already been donated to build a stand,” Kershaw said. “People in the community are ready to pitch in. It’s going to definitely be a different challenge, but I think our community and kids will be up to it.”
As for those students, some Davis Field veterans are sorry to see their home turf relegated to sandlot-like stature and wish the outcome had been very different.
“I feel like we need a new stadium for sure,” said senior and 2013 football team captain Tanner Sample. “And I think we should build it at the new loc ation” near Elma Elementary School.
Sample said players on upcoming teams will “probably feel pretty crummy” playing in a second-rate facility.
“That’s what you look forward to in your senior year,” added Sample, “for everyone to come watch you in a stadium — your home stadium.”
Fellow senior and football player Logan Hieronymous understands the decision, but sees a predicament.
“It’s time for the grandstands to come down,” he said. “But I wish we would have passed that measure and gotten a new stadium, because what are they going to do now?”
Elma High Principal Kevin Acuff thinks those things will eventually be figured out, but said hard decisions will likely be made one at a time.
“I think we have a direction,” Acuff said. “Now we have to think about all the ramifications of the choices we have and we have made. There’s no perfect solution as of right now.”