The new athletic field at Vashon High School will have set open hours for community access (Kent Phelan Photo).

The new athletic field at Vashon High School will have set open hours for community access (Kent Phelan Photo).

Public access to track and field to begin next week

Beginning Monday, Nov. 19, the new track and field at Vashon High School will be open to members of the community.

That public access, promised to the community before islanders voted on the school bond last year, has been slightly delayed as school and park district officials gathered input on when and how the public would like to use the facility. After a public meeting on Nov. 1 and a survey completed by 175 people, Superintendent Slade McSheehy said last week that the track and field will have set open hours: from 5 to 7:30 a.m. and 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

“I want people on the field as soon as possible,” he added.

Earlier this year, Project Manager Brandy Fox said the track and field were expected to be open to the public at the end of October. At the time, the plan was to provide a key card to any community member who wanted access to the facility. Not everyone was pleased with that idea, however, and McSheehy said after he received some complaints, he decided to gather further input. About 20 people attended a public meeting on Nov. 1, conveying a range of opinions, and a survey distributed by both the school and park districts mirrored the feelings expressed at the meeting, McSheehy said. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents wanted open access and 14 percent wanted more restricted access for community members at large. The expected plan for the hours, which is subject to adjustments, is the result.

The facility will be closed to the public during school hours. Ten years ago, it was common to see community members walking on school tracks while school was in session, McSheehy said. But with the rise of school shootings and increased attention to security, there is less tolerance for that kind of access.

“We are really just responding to what is happening in our country today,” he said.

While the new facility is on school district property, the Vashon Park District controls its after-hours usage, just as it does with school district gyms and meeting spaces, through an interlocal agreement, often referred to as the “commons agreement.”

Community groups such as sports teams will schedule field use through the park district, but members of the public who want to use the new facility can simply show up during open hours. The door to the facility will open and close automatically at the set times.

More in Sports

Season starts with two wins on the road for VHS girls’ basketball

Wednesday, Nov. 28, vs. Bremerton High School (at Bremerton) The VHS girls’… Continue reading

Wrestlers off to a strong start

VHS wrestlers opened their season last week with a win over Lake… Continue reading

Tennis courts set to be covered soon

The Vashon Tennis Club has been hard at work covering the tennis… Continue reading

Pirate girls’ soccer season comes to an end

The Vashon girls varsity soccer team traveled to Kings High School in… Continue reading

Public access to track and field to begin next week

Beginning Monday, Nov. 19, the new track and field at Vashon High… Continue reading

Burton Beach Rowing Club ends season with outstanding performance at Head of the Lake

The small club tied for eighth overall in the place standings out of the 80 clubs that particpated.

Pirate runner goes to State, Mustangs dominate at League

Pirate sophomore harrier Ella Yarkin found excellent conditions for her 5k race… Continue reading

Members the VIRC/Renton Rowing Club composite novice women’s four (and coxswain) celebrate their gold medal row at the Frostbite Regatta last Saturday at Seattle’s Green Lake. (Photo by Taegan Lynch)
VIRC crews rowed for gold at weekend regattas

The day started out strong for Vashon’s Masters with Chad Magnuson capturing the Gordon McWilliamsCup

Vashon girls soccer headed to State tournament

It was an exciting kickoff for the Vashon High School girls’ varsity… Continue reading

Football team falls in final game of difficult season

The Vashon Pirates football team wrapped up its season last Friday night… Continue reading

Burton Beach junior crew races at Row2Remember

The Burton Beach Rowing Club’s junior crew spent last weekend on stunning… Continue reading

VHS Tennis team finishes well in post-season

The Vashon tennis team started post-season play on Thursday, Oct. 18, with… Continue reading