Addressing crumb rubber moratorium, school board OKs bidding cork for new EWHS baseball field

Rendering of new Edmonds-Woodway High School baseball field and tennis courts.

Clarifying that the board approved obtaining bids for cork and that final approval of the infill will come after bids are received.

Responding to the City of Edmonds’ moratorium on crumb rubber infill for public play fields, the Edmonds School District Board of Directors Tuesday approved a new Edmonds-Woodway baseball field that will include a bid for a cork infill.

If the final decision is to use cork, it will be the first time the school district has used cork for an athletic field. All of the other district fields use either crumb rubber or natural grass, said district spokeswoman Kelly Franson.

The baseball field was included in the board’s authorization Tuesday of the EWHS Baseball Field and Tennis Court Improvements project. The plan includes renovated tennis courts that will be available for use by both the school and community. Both the baseball field and tennis courts will have lights for night-time use.

Before the project was unanimously approved, Edmonds resident Stacie Hearst — who has been advocating for the baseball field renovations for several years — spoke to the school board about the importance of the project.

“I do encourage you to approve it, it is a long time coming,” she said. “Edmonds-Woodway High School is the largest of the four traditional-style high schools, but we have the smallest footprint.”

More than 60 years old, the Edmonds-Woodway baseball field has been non-regulation sized since day one. The field is occupied by overgrown trees and four telephone poles in the outfield that student athletes have run into, resulting in players losing consciousness, Hearst said.

The project will include the installation of a new full-sized, synthetic turf baseball field that will double as a practice field for football and soccer. Additional tennis courts and tennis court lighting will be included as well as resurfacing of the existing softball field, which is crumb rubber as it was installed prior to the city’s moratorium.

Franson said the district estimates that the cork infill will cost around $70,000 more than the crumb rubber infill, although the actual cost will vary depending on the bids from construction companies.

“The project will be bid for both crumb rubber and cork infill, so we will be able to see the difference in price at that time,” she said.

The entire project is estimated to cost $7 million, with funding coming from the 2016 levy for baseball and tennis improvements, a 2014 bond for the softball turf replacement and a grant from the Verdant Health Commission.

Edmonds School Board Vice President Diana White praised the efforts of Hearst and the community in developing the project.

“It’s really happening,” White said. “I’m really proud of the project and that we really listened to the users of the field. Thank you for making it a real community project.”

Construction is scheduled to start in summer 2019, which represents a year’s delay from the original timeline.

“We went through an extensive design process working with the school community to determine how to best meet their needs,” Franson explained. “We then needed to go through design review and permitting. Because that wasn’t finalized in time to start construction before the current rainy season, we will now wait for the end of the 2019 baseball season to start construction.”

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, the school board was joined by representatives from the Martha Lake Elementary School Associated Student Body (ASB), who came to present what they recently learned about team-building activities.

“This is why team building is important — building trust and forming bonds, improves communication, better conflict resolution and prepares us for real-life jobs,” said 4th grader Cheyenne Biancrosso.

The students led the school board members in a cup-stacking exercise, dividing them into three groups and instructing them to use the 20 cups provided to build the highest tower possible.

Martha Lake Elementary School Principal Tom Trexel said the ASB gives students at the elementary school level an opportunity to become involved in the democratic process and to “step out of the classroom in leadership positions in a wider context for the school.”

Trexel said the ASB is involved in designing decorations for the school’s spirit day and also participates in multiple service projects throughout the year.

“One day you’ll see these kids sitting over here,” said Trexel, indicating the school board’s high school student advisors who sit in on meetings.

In addition, the school board continued its reading and adoption of new school policies. School Board President Anne McMurray said the policies were reviewed by the Washington State School Directors’ Association and will now meet new state legislation and provide more transparency for students, teachers and parents. McMurray said the main objective was to provide consolidation.

“We’re trying to move some things around so it’s easier for people to find what they’re looking for,” she said. “For example, previously we might have had something about meetings in three or four different places. Now we’re making it more findable for members of the public.

The full list of school policies can be found here.

The school board also accepted the Public Works contract for drainage systems at Chase Lake Elementary School. The work was completed on Oct. 17 for a final amount of $122,134.09, including sales tax. In addition, the board awarded a bid to Skyline Communications, Inc. for the District-Wide Safety & Security Project, Phase II, Secondary School Camera portion. The project includes installation of both camera and access controls in all secondary school locations within the district. The project is funded by the 2014 bond and is scheduled to be completed by June 2019.

— Story and photos by Cody Sexton


  1. Thank you, Edmonds School District, for trying cork as an alternative to crumb rubber. While cork costs more, it’s a wise investment in the health of our kids, grandkids and overall water quality of our community. And thanks to the many members of our community who called attention to the potential toxicity of ground-up car tires!

  2. Don’t forget that there are multiple alternatives to crumb rubber made from tires … athletic shoe rubber passes chemical / toxicity tests with flying colors, is durable, less expensive and has the shock mitigation performance you need … and it is available locally for whichever synthetic turf vendor Edmonds School District chooses to work with.

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