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News / Clark County News

City celebrates Ridgefield sports complex groundbreaking Thursday

City, school district working together on $20M project

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: August 30, 2017, 5:39pm

There is some inventive math happening at the site of the upcoming Ridgefield Outdoor Sports Complex, where city and Ridgefield School District officials have a simple equation to describe the joint project.

“The guiding concept is one plus one equals three,” said Bryan Kast, the city’s public works director. “We can build more together than separately.”

The complex, which breaks ground Thursday, was promised to residents as part of the school district’s $78 million bond, which residents passed with 68.82 percent of the vote in February. However, no bond money is going toward the actual complex.

The roughly $20 million complex will be paid for by the city, using a combination of Park Impact Fees, Real Estate Excise Tax, grants, sponsorships and a $10 million councilmanic bond the city will issue later this year. A councilmanic bond is one issued by city councilors that is not voted on by residents and doesn’t raise property taxes.

If You Go

What: Groundbreaking ceremony for Ridgefield Outdoor Sports Complex.

When: 1 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Future site of the complex, which is across Northwest Hillhurst Road from Ridgefield High School, 2630 S. Hillhurst Road, Ridgefield.

The complex will have six multipurpose turf sports fields that can be used for baseball, softball, soccer, football and other sports. There will be a track around the football field, along with trails throughout the complex, picnic tables and an amphitheater. The complex will also have a community center where local groups can hold meetings.

“This is going to be the signature outdoor recreation complex in all of Southwest Washington,” Ridgefield Superintendent Nathan McCann said. “All the fields have turf and will be lit. There’s going to be plenty of parking. It’s surrounded by a beautiful natural scape.”

Construction on the complex is expected to last a year, with the complex scheduled to open for the start of the 2018 school year, along with the new 5-8 campus. The city and district have talked about working on a joint sports complex since early 2015.

“It allows us to compete in an economic environment where construction costs have gone up considerably,” McCann said. “It allows us to stay within our budget and complete the project entirely. It supports the mission of both instead of us having duplicated facilities where neither would be as good on their own.”

The complex will be used by the district and will also be open to residents. During school hours, two fields will be open only for school use.

Residents will be able to use the other fields at those times. The city is also hopeful the new complex will help bring in regional sports tournaments.

By working together, the city and school district were both able to save some money on the project. McCann said the district is saving about $5.3 million on the complex by working with the city on the project.

Kast said that because the complex is next to the new school campus, the city saved money on the cost of some work to get the land ready for the complex. Since Tapani Inc. worked on both projects, the company already had equipment in the area and was familiar with the soils and techniques needed to work on the land. The city’s estimated cost for waterline work was $755,000 and the low bid was $538,000, while the city’s grading and utility work estimation was $4.6 million and it was done for $3.9 million.

Columbian Staff Writer