It’s easy to think supporting a Reynolds stadium means supporting the plan to build it at Wiley. But for now that plan is nothing more than a set of drawings paid for by private citizens and approved by a previous school board with no public funding attached. It still faces many challenges.
There is at least one alternative, and its chances for funding and construction might be better. In 2012, district planners proposed a site they called Option D: Stadium on Hill Beside RJR Auditorium. The land is still available.
It’s not too late to get behind a Reynolds stadium that doesn’t throw Wiley under the bus.
Last week a memo to the school board’s building and grounds committee estimated that clearing the way for a stadium at Wiley could add 6-12 months of disruption to Wiley students and $350,000 to the cost of their new gym. And that’s before the stadium even has funds in place. This clash of priorities will make that funding even harder to secure.
Now is the time to consider the benefits of designing a Wiley gym free of the restrictions and costs imposed by the proposed stadium. For starters, there would be space for a Wiley soccer field, one that could have bleacher seating and serve as a playing field for RJR lacrosse, soccer and field hockey. Planners would have the freedom to build the best gym to serve the needs of Wiley, not the demands of a proposed stadium.
Our school board has a responsibility to consider the alternatives before making choices that permanently diminish opportunities at Wiley.