Renton Stadium renovation set; no impact on spring sports

Renton Stadium will get more than $11 million worth of improvements this summer as construction is scheduled to begin on the old building.

At a greater cost to the project, the construction schedule involves starting and stopping to allow for the continuation of the spring and fall sports seasons.

An estimated $400,000 to $500,000 would have been saved if the district decided to eliminated spring and fall sports, said Rich Moore, assistant superintendent of operations for the Renton School District.

“It didn’t seem like it was worth bringing to the community to ask the question whether we should cancel track and soccer and football for a year in order to save the money when we had the additional capacity within our funds in order to save the $400,000 to 500,000,” he said.

The district will pay for the additional costs from funds of other projects that were done below budget. It’s going to add seven months to the project, which means it will take place over a year and a half, instead of a year.

The project was started with the idea of focusing on mainly the south side of the stadium, or the home stands. Upgrades will go to the seating area to accommodate individuals with disabilities, the sound system and remodeling the press box.

“It’s a pretty old building that’s well over 60 years old that needed a refresh,” said Moore. “As we went out to bid it appeared that we possibly would be able to do the north side also, which is the visitors section.”

When they considered doing both sections at once, they ran into the problem of disrupting the sports seasons. Alternative sites to host the sporting events were looked into, but no alternative sites in other districts would work. So, it was Moore’s recommendation to the school board not to do the project all in one phase because that would eliminate spring and fall sports for 2011. So, it’s going to be done in two phases.

“The biggest issue for us was not wanting to impact the students and be disruptive to families,” he said.

It could have affected thousands of students, as the average track program has 100 students from each school and upwards of 50 students on each of the participating schools’ football teams, not to mention soccer.

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