Painting, pruning, pulling weeds part of pre-fall program in Banks

by: COURTESY PHOTO: LORI ALLEY - After Banks High Schools concession stand was hit with graffiti earlier this summer, students painted over it in time for the first football game and start of the new school year. A handful of Banks students spent their time off this summer at school.

Anywhere from 10 to 30 students and parents have been pulling weeds, pruning, painting over graffiti and prepping portable classrooms where Banks junior high students will spend the fall and winter, trying to spruce things up before the start of the school year.

“If the kids start putting their sweat and blood into their own school, maybe they’ll have more respect for it,” said Shannon Lilly, a volunteer with Young Life, a national Christian youth group organization with a local branch at Banks High School.

Dale and Lori Virden, Randy and Lori Alley and Jeff and Shannon Lilly have been spearheaded the Braves’ effort.

Students in the Banks Young Life group — along with a few parents, other students, elementary school yard work by a Latter Day Saints church group, and painting help from athletic director Jacob Pence — have put in hundreds of hours, helping out the two men who make up the Bank School District maintenance crew, Erik Felkley and Skip Smetana.

“I’ve been worried about kids’ pride in their school; it’s nice to see these kids working hard,” Felkley said. “They’re extremely helpful, working long hours and late nights. We’re undermanned and we take any help we can get.”

Volunteers were hoping fellow students, parents and community members noticed last Friday at their first football game of the season.

“People were so upset by the graffiti when it happened,” said Felkley, who often sees Banks citizens roping off their seats for the evening game before they go to work that morning. “I think people will really be pleased.”

The volunteers painted the snack shack and back wall of the school — both were hit by graffiti earlier this summer.

“We’re starting to fix everything up,” said Noah Denker, a Banks High student and volunteer, whose favorite moment this summer was painting over graffiti. “Whoever did this couldn’t mess up our school. They’re not in charge of how our school looks.”

Bre Virden has been working with the rest of the crew, and will help repaint the Braves’ mascot and lettering on the grand stands.

“Our school has a lot of problems with vandalism,” said Virden, a Banks High School student who’s been thanked by football players walking by. “It’s cool to actually have people appreciate it.”

Banks football fans will wait until November to use new restroom

A new bathroom facility near the high school football field is part of Banks School District’s bond project, approved by voters last May. But spectators will have to hold it this football season or make do with the old toilets at the back of the high school building.

Superintendent Bob Huston said the district is currently backed up on this piece of the larger project while officials wait for permits from Clean Water Services.

Because a restroom facility requires an impervious surface, Huston said, the district must compensate by creating plans for a pervious space of equal square-footage, complete with native plants and trees and irrigation. Invasive species must also be removed from the area.

“It’s very expensive, too,” said Huston, who estimated it would cost about $15,000.

There isn’t space for a permeable surface right next to the planned-for bathroom facility, so it will likely go across the football field next to a small creek, Huston said, where grass, weeds, blackberries and scrub trees currently live.

The nearest wetland is across the football field from the restroom site. Huston said the facility could be done by mid-November.

— Stephanie Haugen

Contract Publishing

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