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Preschool vandalized for fourth time in four years

Rock thrown through a window is just the latest incident of vandalizm at Sunbeam Preschool

by: SHELBY CASE/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - A baseball-sized rock was thrown through this window at Sunbeam Preschool in late March


   Perhaps it wasn't so much the latest incidence of vandalism at a preschool located on the Crook County Fairgrounds, but rather repeated occurrences during the last four years.
   In one case, someone last school year broke in and urinated on a preschool wall.
   "We are fed up!" said Sunbeams Preschool teacher Heather Fraser. She teaches the junior preschool students and rents rooms from fellow teacher Brenda Thune.
   In the latest case of vandalism, which Thune believes occurred Friday night, vandals threw a rock through one of the preschool windows and tore apart the playground equipment.
   "She called me ... it was Saturday morning," Fraser said. "I believe that the fairgrounds called her Saturday morning. And this has been a recurring thing. This is something (that happens) every time they rent to a certain group and we'd like it to stop."
   Fraser estimates it will cost about $150 to replace the broken window. For now, she has duct taped a cover over the window.
   "And it was a huge rock. I mean, it wasn't a huge, huge rock, but it was enough to do some damage. It was about the size of a baseball," she said.
   "I am under the understanding that the fairgrounds is going to replace the window with the deposit that this group leaves. I'm assuming so," the teacher said. "I'm assuming they wouldn't return the deposit after the damage that has been done."
   Fairgrounds Manager Patrick Wood confirmed that the preschool's window will be replaced.
   "We're taking care of it," Wood said. "We're replacing it."
   "We discovered that a rock had been pitched through the window of that particular building, which is on our fairgrounds. But it would have been sometime between Saturday, the 22nd, or Sunday, the 23rd of March. All I know if that we saw it Monday, the 24th, so I'm assuming that it occurred Saturday or Sunday."
   "And the only connection I can make is that we did not have any rentals that weekend," he said. "I mean, there's no evidence to make that leap - that somebody associated with the party did it. And it was also spring break. So who knows?"
   Police Chief Eric Bush said he spoke with Thune, who told him that she did not report this to the police.
   "She talked to Pat Wood," Bush said.
   Likewise, it doesn't appear a report was filed with the sheriff's office.
   "Upon checking our records at the sheriff's office, from March 18 through today, April 1, I don't see any reports that were taken or anything that shows we responded to that area regarding criminal mischief," said Crook County Sheriff's Office Detective Sgt. Travis Jurgens.
   As for the playground equipment, none of that was stolen, but instead someone took it apart. Fraser explained that the playground equipment is put together, similar to pieces from a puzzle.
   "It takes quite a bit of time to put it together," Fraser said. "It doesn't really cost us anything. It's not really a cost item. It's more time and frustration."
   The broken window and torn apart equipment are just two examples of what has been frustrating for Fraser. In the 2006-2007 school year, someone broke in and urinated.
   "It was all over my bathroom," Fraser said. "It was horrible."
   As of Monday afternoon, police still were investigating the case.
   "They don't have any suspects," Fraser said. "They only know who was renting the facilities at the time, and we have no witnesses unless somebody would come forward."
   Fraser has been with the preschool now four years, including when it was known under a different business name.
   "I would say five times a school year it happened," she said.
   Additionally, in the past some fairgrounds users have broken liquor bottles in front of the school.
   "Oh yes, we've swept up bottles in front of our school," Fraser said. "But not this time. Not that I've noticed."
   Instead of playing outside, the children were inside for Monday.
   "Well, we try to hide it from the kids," Fraser said. "We don't want them to know that their play area has been vandalized."
   "And I covered my window so the kids don't know it's broken," she added.
   In the past, the youth work crew at Crook County High School came over and helped reassemble the playground equipment when it was torn apart.
   "I want to find out who did it and we are going to press charges if we can find out who did it," Fraser said.