Sports

Deadline looms for community movement to fix Sheets Field

Sheets Field is in the running for a make over and the community can help, but time is running out.

A parent submitted the football, soccer and track facility that sits in downtown Buckley on the Glacier Middle School campus in the Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Plant a Seed program. Each year, Kellogg’s sifts through thousands of athletic field nominees and selects 30 to rebuild.

Sheets Field is a semifinalist - the final 100. At last count, Sheets Field was 44th in voting. The Web site showed more than 5,000 votes and 86 comments from the community.

Comments supporting the project express the importance of safety and of updating the field to meet the needs of a larger student population now that the White River School District is combining its two middle schools and moving them to the Glacier Middle School campus. And many comments address the history of the field, which for decades hosted high school sporting events, which drew hundreds to its stands.

“This field is the heart and soul of Buckley,” wrote one person in posted comments. “This field is a landmark for many people in the community. It is full of history.”

“I grew up going to football games at this field nearly every Friday night, dreaming about being in high school and being a cheerleader on the sidelines for my high school football team,” wrote another. “When I was in high school I fulfilled my dream and cheered on the White River High School Hornet football team on the sidelines of Sheets Field. It may seem like a silly, small dream, but to me it was important. Although we are not a small town in Texas, in Buckley, the whole town turns out for the Friday night lights. This field is a legacy to the town and we need it to be saved.”

The deadline to vote is Sunday.

During this time, the general public can vote for Sheets Field. People can vote once a day. Public voting will count for half the final score and the judging panel’s score will count for the other half. The combined score will determine which 30 fields will be rebuilt. Judging criteria will include feasibility of field makeover and location of the field, as well as address questions like, How old is the field? How often is the field used? How many events take place on the field each month/year? What teams use the field? Are there other athletic fields in the community? Demand for the field? What shape is the field in? How would this field’s makeover help the community?

For information on Sheets Field or to vote go to http://www.frostedflakes.com/PLANT-A-SEED/FIELD/74333/FIELD.ASPX.

The Web site notes Sheets Field is adjacent to a historical school landmark building and the field is important to the community because of the history behind the games that are played on this field. Information posted also mentions the field’s poor drainage and the lack of funding to fix it.

According to public comments on the Kellogg’s Web site, the field stirs emotion in the community.

“I was part of the last graduating high school class in 2003 at White River where Sheets Field is located,” wrote another. “I have recently bought a house in Buckley where I plan to raise my daughter and have her attend school in the White River School District. It means so much to have Sheets Field here in the Heart of our Town. Please vote to help us rebuild it!”

One coach wrote that the photograph on the Kellogg’s Web site is not a true picture of the field. The beautiful setting with the Cascade Foothills in the background doesn’t show the potholes created from 75 years of use, he said. The field lacks drainage on the field created by poor soil and the track retains water. This field is used and abused for nine months of the year and then summer programs are also using the field for sporting events. The stands, where people can hardly find a place to sit, have been weathered. The coach also said “you can’t see the pride that the community takes in the history of this field having been the high school field for nearly seven decades.”

“If any field deserves to be redone, Sheets is the one,” said another writer. “It used to be that on a Friday night, the whole town would go to Sheets to watch the Hornets play football. Many of those people in the stands have also played on this field.”

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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