Edmonds School District to upgrade sound system at Edmonds Stadium; School Board honors former Board President, District Flight team

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Local high school sports fans should rejoice.

The Edmonds School District will be moving ahead with plans to purchase a new sound system for Edmonds Stadium.

Last spring the District and the Board of Directors expressed a desire to look into upgrading the stadium sound system. During the course of research on systems, the District noted the stadium generally is used in one of two ways.

One is described as field use, such as football or soccer games, with people in the stands and someone announcing what’s going on out on the field. The other primary use is for the District’s high school graduation ceremonies.

The research indicated that the sound systems for field and graduation are different. The graduation has microphones in different areas and for different purposes, such as choir, speakers and bands. Graduation also includes a complicated mixing board. Field use involves speakers at the top of the stadium.

District Executive Director of Business and Operations Stewart Mhyre told the School Board at Tuesday’s meeting that the cost of upgrading the speakers for field use is $150,000 and a different system for graduation would cost an additional $120,000.

Mhyre said that the District doesn’t have the expertise on staff to manage the system and a place to store that system also would need to be found. The District currently contracts with a private company to provide a sound system for all four high school graduations for $6,000.

Mhyre’s recommendation, which the Board supported, was to go ahead and upgrade the sound system for field use and to continue to contract with the private company for graduation ceremonies.

Board President Diana White said that she’s been told by people that often it is difficult for students out on the field, such as the dance team, to hear what is being played on the current sound system.

Mhyre said that the new system will have speakers facing the field, which should alleviate the issue. No specific timetable on the purchase and installation of a new system was discussed.

Mhyre also disclosed during a Public Hearing that the District currently is talking with a potential developer/buyer who is interested in the property formally known as Melody Hills, located at 6205 222nd St. SW. in Mountlake Terrace.

The District was approached by the developer and has received a letter of interest, Mhyre said. The District is in the process of negotiations.

“We’ll have to see if we can come to an agreement,” Mhyre said.

The District should know by the end of next week whether the two sides will come to an agreement. If that’s the case, then the purchase and sale agreement could be on the School Board agenda for its Dec. 9 meeting.

Once the District sells the property, then the matter of what sort of development will be built on the property will be the responsibility of the City of Mountlake Terrace.

Mhyre added that Sound Transit has expressed interest in putting a stop in the Melody Hills property.

“They don’t have the money to do it,” Mhyre said. “They are at least studying the idea of what it would look like. They have to find the money to do it.”

In other business:

– The Board received a report on the District’s Summer Meals program. The District started the program three years ago and it initially was available at nine sites. The next year it was consolidated to four sites and last year it was expanded to 12 sites.

The District has found the most success in sites that are already operating and where there is a higher concentration of students. The program had a significant custodial expense increase from a year ago that is directly attributable to the increase in the number of sites.

If the District offers summer academic programs, which it wants to do, then the District is mandated to offer a feeding program. The District currently has the capacity to feed more students without incurring extra costs.

The District and School Board plan to look at different ways to get the word out to parents or other organizations that are using school facilities about the availability of the free lunch programs.

Edmonds School District Board member Ann McMurray helped to honor former Board President Susan Phillips at Tuesday's School Board meeting.
Edmonds School District Boardmember Ann McMurray helped to honor former Board President Susan Phillips (right) at Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

– The Board paid tribute to former President and Director, Susan Phillips, who served from 2007-14. Phillips resigned from the School Board last March so that she could focus all of her attention on her husband Ron, who was facing some health challenges.

“We miss her on the Board very much. Her presence. … Her community involvement. So many things,” said Boardmember Ann McMurray. “When Susan was here and with us she set a standard for community involvement, for Board involvement in the community.

“Even though you are not with us, you are because your example continues to lead us.”

Added Board President Diana White, “Thank you for the role model you are and continue to be.”

Phillips thanked everyone for the kind words and noted that through the years she met lots of people, many of whom have become lifelong friends.

“That is such a gift,” Phillips said.

Being on the School Board was an honor and a learning experience for Phillips. It also opened her eyes.

“I will always be in awe of the dedication that I have seen from teachers, from staff, from families, community members, volunteers, all for the sake of students in the school district,” Phillips said. “It’s just been so inspiring.”

Members of the Edmonds School District Flight Team, a crisis response group, was recognized for their work in helping the students, staff and community at Marysville-Pilchuck High School after the tragic shooting.
Members of the Edmonds School District Flight Team, a crisis response group, was recognized for their work in helping the students, staff and community at Marysville-Pilchuck High School after the tragic shooting.

The School District and Board of Directors also honored the 27 members of the Edmonds School District Flight Team, a specially-trained crisis response group, who volunteered to go to Marysville-Pilchuck High School to help students, parents and staff after the tragic shooting.

The Flight Team started organizing on Friday, Oct. 24, the day of the shooting and spent 12 days working up in Marysville.

Executive Director of Student Services Jean Mirabal read a letter that said in part, “This group of dedicated professionals spent countless hours, including their weekend, working together to assist students, staff and the community members of Marysville to begin cope with their grief, trauma and sorrow.”

She added that “they are all quiet heroes who remain forever in the hearts of our students and staff as they care for both in Marysville and Edmonds.”

Career and Technical Education Director Mark Madison recently attended an event with Marysville Superintendent Becky Berg, who expressed her deep gratitude for the Flight Team.

“Because of your work they were able to get through a very difficult time. She is very appreciative of your work,” Madison said.

Mirabal added that Berg said, “We didn’t know what we would do without you.”

– By David Pan

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