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Field of dreams — Elma puts bond out to the voters

Elma School District officials are hoping voters will buy into their plan to build a multi-purpose, all-weather stadium that would benefit the entire community and the the future home of numerous Elma Eagle sports squads.

An $8.4 million bond measure is on the Feb. 11 special election ballots, which are due to be mailed out to voters early next week.

“We don’t have a lot of time here, but we’ve got some very enthusiastic community members,” said Elma School District Superintendent Howard King of the effort to get the bond measure passed by voters. “It’s a bigdeal for the community.”

King said the proposed project is one that will benefit the local school and the community on many fronts.

“It’s a multi-purpose stadium,” King said. “It would really give our kids the opportunity to do things they haven’t been able to do for decades.”

The 1,500-seat stadium is proposed for a 20-acre parcel, owned by the district, and located directly behind the elementary school and district offices. The proposed new facility would feature an all-weather, synthetic turf field.

It would replace Davis Field on the Elma High School campus. The School Board has already authorized the old grandstands to be razed in the next few months. The 65-year-old grandstands were determined to be beyond repair. Due to changes in requirements for building permits within Elma, any renovation of that structure would have required new construction.

The districts lists numerous benefits of the proposed facility in literature being used to inform community members of the plan.

• Unlike the Davis Field site, the land is not in a flood zone, allowing it to have artificial turf.

• The stadium capacity, artificial turf and location between Olympia and Aberdeen-Hoquiam would allow Elma to host high school playoff games in several sports. It would also be an attraction for major recreational soccer tournaments and the like, generating revenue for the district.

• The artificial turf would allow year-round use of the field for soccer, track, baseball and fastpitch practices, football, elementary school physical education classes and tournaments.

• The property provides additional parking space necessary for a larger stadium.

• The site would allow possible future placement of additional baseball/fastpitch fields in the same area, creating a multi-sports compound.

Speaking on the ability of the stadium to host prep playoffs and tournaments, King said, “We’re really well located (between Olympia and Aberdeen-Hoquiam). It would benefit the community when people come here for tournaments or playoffs. They’ll need to go somewhere to eat and buy gas.”

King said the district is asking its taxpayers to make a long-term investment in their school and community. He also said that he knows of no organized opposition to the ballot measure.

“This is a stadium that will be there for decades,” said King, noting that the Elma project is being loosely modeled after an all-season stadium that was dedicated in Newberg, Ore., in 2012. “Chances are, the community will be growing in the next few decades, so why not plan for that now.”

King said anybody seeking more information regarding the bond issue can check out the Facebook page “Elma School District Stadium” or call the district office at (360) 482-2822.