Buried in a list of school district maintenance projects worth $700,000 is a press box for Lake City High School.
With $10,000 and a pile of concrete blocks behind the football stadium, the school will build the foundation to a two-story press box that’s expected to cost $70,000.
The item on the two-page list of summer maintenance projects for the Coeur d’Alene School District caught the attention of school board members Jane Curtis and Ken Burchell.
Both voted against the project list earlier this week because of the press box. They were overruled by the rest of the board.
“I just questioned with all the needs there are in the district whether that one should be a priority at this time,” Curtis said. “It doesn’t have to do with Lake City versus Coeur d’Alene High School.”
It has more to do with voter perceptions heading into a $10 million May levy election to build a third middle school.
“At a time when we’re experiencing overcrowded conditions and emergency building needs, $70,000 for a press box does not seem to me to be a pressing item,” said Burchell.
School officials Thursday were pledging that the balance for the cost of the press box - $60,000 - would be raised through the football club, booster club and the parent group.
“There’s no gluttony in it,” said Lake City High Principal John Brumley, who claims he hasn’t asked the district for any money for athletic facilities.
School officials said they have to replace the temporary plywood press box that sits on top of the football stadium bleachers. The temporary building permit for the structure, which does not meet code, expired last year.
Rick Ulveling, state building inspector, confirmed that the school either needs to go without a press box or replace the plywood one. The current proposal is about $130,000 less than the original bid that the school district requested two years ago.
“If they’re going to build something it has to meet code,” Ulveling said. “That press box that’s there now has got to go.”
Some patrons questioned the fairness of spending money for athletic facilities at Lake City High School - just two years old - when the district hasn’t finished upgrading Coeur d’Alene High School.
Most of Coeur d’Alene’s outdoor athletic facilities, including its wooden press box, were built with booster club funds.
“All I know is that when they were going to pass the bond, they said both schools would be equitable as school sites,” said parent Ginny Hughes. “When you make a pledge on a bond issue saying this is what we’re going to do, you need to finish it.”
Former board member and Coeur d’Alene High parent Ruth Smith said Coeur d’Alene needs a lot more than tennis courts and a practice gymnasium to achieve parity with Lake City.
“You can’t really compare it (Coeur d’Alene High) with the new school,” she said.
Assistant Superintendent Dave Teater pointed out that in the $700,000-worth of maintenance projects, $200,000 is going to Coeur d’Alene High School for new bleachers and to help complete the outdoor athletic complex.
“The Viking Field, last year we put a quarter million into that project,” Teater said.
“We’re probably putting 20 times more into Coeur d’Alene High School this year than we are into Lake City High School.”
, DataTimes MEMO: Cut in the Spokane edition.