Sunday, July 23, 2017 This Week's Paper

Chief Leschi athletic fields set to open this fall

This fall, Friday night lights will shine at Chief Leschi Schools when the long-awaited athletic fields open. The fields are well underway to be ready in time for football practice, and are expected to be officially complete by the first home game in mid-September.

The project includes a synthetic football field, rubber track, baseball diamond, plenty of space for field sports, and a seating for 900 home team fans and 300 visitor spectators. The baseball diamond will accommodate about 200 fans.

The Tribe has been working with Mahlum Architects to design a field with a professional look to it. “We designed the field to be a very welcoming place,” said Mahlum Architects Project Manager Dwayne Epp. “We hope it becomes a place of pride for Chief Leschi Schools, and also a place to welcome others by providing high quality facilities for the guests.”

These fields have long been a dream for school officials, and has been a topic of discussion since the school opened in 1996. “It’s so important to have a facility that future generations can enjoy and appreciate,” lead architect Eugene Lau said. “The tribe is very thankful to have the money and ability to make this dream come true.”

The project is on schedule and budget in spite of a few unforeseen challenges due to an originally swampy construction site. However, Project Manager Ron Wrolson says the team used an innovative earthwork system that mixed concrete with soil to harden the job site. In spite of the setback, he anticipates the project will be completed on time this fall.

The concession stands and visitors seating areas will be completed in another phase of the project, but may be completed only a few months after the project’s grand opening.

“The first game will be tearjerker,” Wrolson said. “The kids are so excited, and they didn’t believe it would actually happen. It’ll be exciting to be on that field in September.”