Yakima School Board commits $4.5 million to Zaepfel Stadium renovations

Yakima School Board commits $4.5 million to Zaepfel Stadium renovations
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Improvements are finally on the way to Zaepfel Stadium. After years of planning, the school board finally voted to get the ball rolling on much-needed safety improvements.

Zaepfel Stadium has been a second home to many students over the years in Yakima. For the athletes that spend countless hours on the field, sports are more than just an extracurricular activity.

It's why Yakima mom Nieves Negrete stayed with the track program after her two sons graduated.

"This program has given them the motivation to succeed, the determination, their focus, their discipline, so that they can spend time on their studies," said Negrete.

Plans to renovate Zaepfel Stadium have been on the table since Eisenhower High was rebuilt. Lack of funding stopped the district from moving forward. Yet, after much debate, the school board voted unanimously to commit $4.5 million to the first phase of the project. That will focus on safety improvements with a new synthetic turf, track and lights.

Yakima track coach Phil English been pushing for this move for years.

"It's going to be a multi-use facility, and I think as we move forward in the years ahead, it will actually be a unifying aspect to both the Eisenhower and Davis communities, as well," said English.

The first phase is scheduled to begin construction in May, and the hope is to be finished by early October. Once the safety improvements are completed, future renovations will likely include new restrooms, concessions stand and a ticket booth. Supporters say it's a push in the right direction for our whole community.

The board still has to make a final decision on how the project will be funded. None of the three options will include raising taxes.