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Booster club looks for stadium funds

The Sherwood Booster Club and Sherwood School District are in initial discussions regarding a new athletic stadium at Sherwood High School.

During a Feb. 28 work session, the Sherwood School Board, was briefed on plans to move forward with a stadium.

A committee comprised of members of the Sherwood Booster Club and school district officials met earlier in February to discuss plans to build a new stadium.

John Kelly, school district director of curriculum, said the group looked at what was financially feasible.

Kelly said the group has plans to approach the School Board in May with a potential plan. He said a higher-end stadium with restrooms could cost as much as $1.3 million, noting that the booster club is anxious to get a figure from the board regarding how much it would be willing to pitch in for the project.

Based on discussions with the booster group, Kelly said it appeared they were realistic about costs and willing to entertain a variety of options.

"So the end result I think was very positive," Kelly said of the meeting.

Funds from the $98 million bond, passed by voters in November, won't be used for the project. A covered stadium wasn't included in the bond after a survey conducted in March 2006 showed 53 percent of those contacted were opposed to using that money for such a structure.

During the work session, board member Wayne Lowry asked if the district offered to pitch in $500,000, would it be possible for the club to raise the rest.

Kelly pointed out that not too many school districts -- outside a district the size of the Beaverton School District -- are in a position to raise that kind of money.

Board member Kevin Noreen pointed out that it would be difficult for most booster clubs to raise the amount of cash needed to build a covered stadium.

"You just don't get three guys together and raise a million dollars," said Noreen.

Noreen also asked about if a time frame for construction is being discussed.

"Is the community OK with waiting three years and putting something on the ground?" he asked.

Board member Kevin Henry said he thinks those involved in the stadium planning are a very creative group. Henry said he believes the boosters want a nice stadium and "we want that as well, within reason."

Henry said the district needs to take into account that the facility is used in full capacity only six to 10 times a year. However, he has been impressed with new bleachers installed on the visitor's side last summer.

"That's served us very well," said Henry. "It's the right number."

The aluminum bleachers on the visitors' side were installed last summer, with seating for about 600. That's up significantly from the old wooden seats that could only accommodate about 200 people.

Meanwhile, Mark Irwin, vice president of the Sherwood Booster Club, said it's still too early in the process to make a determination of the type of stadium his group would like to see, although a couple of proposals have been discussed in the past.

"Those, although they were improvements to what we currently have there are not exactly what we want long term," said Irwin.

One thing is certain; however, the group doesn't want an uncovered stadium.

"We didn't feel in the Willamette Valley that was going to work," said Irwin.

He said the goal is to not take a Band-Aid approach to building a new structure, rather one that will last for years to come. That said, it also won't be the most expensive.

"The last thing I want to say is this is going to be the Cadillac of football stadiums," said Irwin.

The booster club already has done some fund-raising over the years for a stadium, which is old and over capacity, said Irwin.

He said the Booster Club wants to collaborate with the district, pointing to partnerships that have worked well between the city and YMCA and elementary school ball fields. Such projects, said Irwin, take the collaboration of groups.