SELMA – After hearing comments at a special Selma Unified Board workshop regarding the impending remodel of Staley Stadium, it’s obvious residents want more seating, more bathrooms and more concession stands.

“My biggest concern is when the kids graduate,” Annemarie Summers said of plans to decrease the number of seats to 4,500. “Our graduating class is eventually going to grow.”

“The bathrooms won’t work,” Colleen Nelson said. “I’d put a little more money that way.”

Brandon Shoemaker raised a safety concern about active shooter situations and disagreed that a plaza-style front entrance wasn’t needed.

“I’ve seen Lemoore’s stadium and when you step foot on that campus, you know you’re in Tiger country. I want people to know when they come here, they’re in Bear country.”

The comments came after officials with the planning firm CFW reviewed current cost details and financing deadlines regarding the Measure O projects.

Architects with Teter Architects & Engineers also detailed some of their design proposals and answered questions from the Selma Unified School Board trustees and audience members at the workshop.

Board member Paul Green was adamant that funds be found to add more bathrooms and concessions areas to the plan.

“We can’t build a stadium and leave the bathrooms and concession stand as is. We’re going to have to figure out how to do this since that stadium will be here another 50 years.”

The Selma High remodel consists of four main projects including $2 million for stadium improvements, $626,000 for track improvements, $1.3 million for two new modular classrooms and $2.7 million in modernizations to academy pathway classrooms, school library modernizations and upgrades to the cafeteria restrooms and roofing.

Teter project manager Tony Pavone said the current berms would be removed and some of that earth redistributed to create viewing areas on the north and south portions along the track. Classrooms would be built for physical education purposes and the outdated concession stands and restrooms would be replaced.

Senior Teter partner Jamie Hickman said part of the redesign would include efforts to have better supervision and security of the area to control the flow of visitors to the stadium and have them not go through the high school campus itself.

The idea of placing the main entrance and ticket booth to the north will likely be revamped as there’s less parking and only a two-lane street near that intersection.

Board member Mark Falcon said he was glad to see the new bathrooms and concession stand but added that the junior varsity fans need to be considered.

“When [junior varsity’s] playing on one field, there’s nothing there to bring people in to watch a game. To use the restroom, you have to walk clear to the other side.”

The remodel’s total cost is estimated at approximately $11.6 million of which $10.1 million would be funded in part by Measure O bond dollars. The rest would be paid for existing school district funds. The district is also hoping to take advantage of matching state funds but must meet various deadlines to do so.

“There are a lot of school districts that passed bonds and are asking for matching funds from the state,” SUSD Superintendent Tanya Fisher said. “How can Selma get to the front of that line?”

CFW Executive Vice President Khush Gheyara said the state will sell its bonds then go down the list of eligible schools on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We need to get on that list as soon as possible,” Gheyara said adding that the district was smart to look into the needs of schools throughout the district before even going to voters to start prioritizing projects. “The stadium, we clearly understand, is a priority.”

Gheyara and CFW Assistant Vice President Jeremy Cogan reviewed timelines to take advantage of those potential state funds as the school district is scheduled to submit a detailed remodel plan to the Division of the State Architect by December of this year. It’s this division that provides design and construction oversight for schools, community colleges and various other state-owned and leased facilities.

Construction of the Selma High remodel would begin in July 2018 and be completed by December 2019, if all goes according to plan.

School board President Jennifer Winter said the next step is to come up with a list of specific priorities and bring that back to the board for a vote to meet state deadlines to secure matching funds.

“And the sooner the better so we can get in line for state funds,” Fisher said.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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