HERMISTON -- A $22,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation has brought the Hermiston School District a step closer to paying for renovations of Hermiston High School's Kennison Field.
The district now needs about $42,000 to fill a $700,000 funding gap for the project, which seeks to improve the facility and make it adequate to stage state-level athletic events.
"We are inching our way there," said district spokeswoman Briana Cortaberria.
Kennison Field hasn't been updated in decades, with the bleachers out of code and cracks in the track encircling the football field.
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The project includes installation of FieldTurf to reduce injury risks, a new track surface and press box and other improvements.
It will cost an estimated $4 million -- about $700,000 more than the basic level of recommended improvements. State and federal grants will pay for the bulk of the project.
District officials and community members are pushing to bring the facility up to standards required by the Oregon School Athletics Association for state-level competitions in football and track.
Project supporters have said allowing Kennison Field to stage regional events between Eastern Oregon high schools will provide an economic boost for Hermiston.
Two funds administered by the Oregon Community Foundation provided the $22,000 grant. The foundation provides $80 million annually in scholarships and grants, with the money provided by companies, organizations and others who want to support community projects.
Cortaberria said the design and development phase of the project is complete and formal plans soon will be developed. District officials want to all the funding in place by Dec. 31 so they can break ground in February.