Putting turf on Joe Knowles Field is South Kitsap facilities group's priority

It all began as little more than an open session to discuss the athletic facilities in the South Kitsap School District.

But more than five months later, the South Kitsap Community Sports Foundation has established its priorities.

SKSD athletic director Ed Santos, who also will head development of the project, said during Monday night’s meeting at the South Kitsap High School library that the group will focus on putting turf surfaces on Joe Knowles Field as well as the lower practice field and the fastpitch area.

Ron Ness, president of the South Kitsap Coaches Association, said paperwork has been has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service to establish SKCSF as a nonprofit. The organization also has established an account with Kitsap Bank.

They also have split into four separate focus groups — project development, grants, fundraising and communications.

Girls soccer coach Julie Cain will lead the group focused on grants. She has applied for an $8,000 grant through the US Soccer Foundation that helps produce a conceptual plan in conjunction with Clough Harbour Sports. Cain said that grant would provide “a really good assessment of the cost.”

Santos does not have an estimate on the project, but noted that it might require a reconfiguration of all three affected fields. He said some of the non-running events in track and field might need to be adjusted at Joe Knowles Field. In addition, Santos wants to look at adding more seating on the visitor sideline and covered seating at the stadium.

South is just one of three schools in the 11-team Narrows League that features a grass surface. Bellarmine Prep and Shelton are the other two.

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association does not allow games in the final two rounds of the state playoffs to be held on grass surfaces.

The fastpitch field also might be completely adjusted with home plate moving to where left field presently is located. Santos said that would allow seating to be removed and open up that area to reconfigure the practice field for football and soccer and add lighting.

Ness said having multiple turf fields with lighting provides greater opportunities for community use and future grants.

The next SKCSF meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. May 4 at the high school library.

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