The Lake Washington School District has condemned the Lake Washington High School baseball field, leaving parents and players seething. (Sim Osborn photo)

Kirkland players, parents angered by closing of field

Conditions at the Lake Washington High School baseball field have gotten so bad, the district closed it for the season earlier this year. And parents, students and community members are furious with the district for letting it get so bad in the first place.

Sim Osborn, a parent of a varsity player and noted Seattle attorney, says the district refused to do any maintenance for years, leaving it up to parents and players to take care of it themselves. And things reached a tipping point in January when large cracks in the concrete and wire, exposed spikes and pipes prompted the condemnation.

"They've done nothing. Nothing. Okay, there was a surveyor up there. Big deal. Baseball season is already underway," Osborn complained.

It's a major headache for parents and students. The three teams are forced to travel as far as Redmond's Marymoor Park for practice and games, when the fields are even available. They often have to resort to a middle school football field instead, which Osborn calls wholly inadequate.

"There's no infield, there's no backstop. they literally have to play long toss and take fly balls," Osborn says.

It impacts more than just the school. The popular fields are used year-round by numerous other groups and the community at large.

"It's about the kids that play Boys and Girls club soccer, it's about the guy that lives across the street and wants to run around and the kick the soccer ball with his grandson. It's about the 10 little league football teams from the Boys and Girls Club that practice there every night."

"We have been working on a complete plan to fix all the issues," said Kathryn Reith, Communications Director for the district, in an email. "Parents will get the plan within the next couple of days. It will take a little time to get bids and issue a purchase order but we do hope to begin work soon."

At a meeting Monday night, district officials said they plan to reseed the outfield, grade the infield and replace the dirt. Officials hope the project will be completed in time for next season barring any setbacks, according to Reith.

Osborn says he and others are incensed the district isn't putting in artificial turf like it has at two of the four high schools in the district.

"Eastlake and Redmond have turf fields. Juanita and Lake Washington are treated like the poor step children of the district. We're the Cinderellas of the district," he said.

But according to Reith, the Eastlake High School turf field was paid for and constructed by the city of Sammamish, not the district.

Still, after Monday's meeting Osborn says he's dissatisfied with the district's response and what he calls a lack of urgency, as well as what he says is unwillingness to accept responsibility for allowing the field to fall into such terrible shape in the first place.

Josh Kerns, Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for
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