Wiley gym is on the bond. RJR stadium is not.

Architectural plans for the proposed stadium have been approved with only about 20% of the funding in place. That’s all it took for stadium boosters to gain control of the taxpayer-funded construction of a new gym for Wiley Middle School.

By investing an estimated $150,000 in stadium plans that dictate the shape, position and style of the future Wiley gym, the private fundraising group Home Field Advantage was able to get its foot in the door, betting that the school board would continue laying the groundwork for a $5 million stadium on the Wiley campus while postponing any public discussion of money.

The private fundraising group has commissioned a stadium design that is more expensive than traditional school construction and would be costly to maintain. School board approval means that the new Wiley gym, a 2016 bond project, would be built to honor the logistical requirements and priorities of that stadium, at a premium to taxpayers, regardless of whether the stadium ever gets built.

Wiley’s new gym should serve the students, not the stadium. The design process starts in spring 2019.