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Costs mount to maintain stadium

Victories aren’t the only thing piling up at Wildcat Memorial Stadium this fall.

With record crowds attending football games and outside groups using the stadium, school officials are trying to figure out how to pay for the costs associated with the additional use.

The large crowds and additional events have meant higher utility costs and more custodial hours to clean up after the game. The school district has filled three dumpsters full of trash after recent home football games. The mess has even extended to the nearby Hillcrest Elementary School parking lot.

It’s been a learning experience for officials to operate a top-notch facility that is good enough to host playoff games.

“We have no experience operating a stadium or handling crowds of this size,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said during a recent school board meeting.

The school district is researching how other schools in the WesCo Conference recoup money needed to deal with the costs incurred. Officials may also find a way to develop a reserve fund to pay for future upgrades. In 10 to 15 years, the artificial field at the stadium is scheduled for replacement.

Wildcat Memorial Stadium is a modern replacement for War Memorial Stadium. The new facility means more utility bills to pay for the extra lighting, which now extends over the bleachers. With such a large facility there are more grounds that workers have to maintain.

School officials could look to the groups that are benefiting from the large crowds to help pay for the increased costs. Schulte said the groups, such as the ASB, which gets the gate receipts, and the Booster Club, which operates the concession stand, are seeing more money coming in than last year at Memorial Stadium.

Board member Dave McCool said the school district should come up with a proposal that covers the district’s costs but meets the needs of all the groups that use the stadium that raises money.

The district will also look at how much to charge outside groups to use Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

It appears that the field is going to be popular. It has been the site of youth football games, two Class A girls soccer playoff games and Coupeville’s football playoff game.

Any changes the school district comes up with won’t be implemented until the 2008-2009 school year, Schulte said.

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