LETTER: Finish Teeters Field!
Football season is upon us and as of this writing, as a 2A contender, the Kellogg Wildcat Varsity and Junior Varsity football teams put on an absolute clinic in their first game last week in Moscow, collectively outscoring the 4A school 96-25! We are getting ready to host our first home game at Teeters Field on Friday, Sept. 2 against Newport High School (Washington).
While I would argue that Teeters Field is possibly the best venue in all of high school sports, it does need some TLC. A few years ago, the city and the school district were notified by the IHSAA (Idaho High School Activities Association — the governing body over high school athletics), that Teeters was unfit to host games due to safety concerns over the proximity of the existing concession stand to the back of the endzone. Two days prior to last year’s home football opener, the Kellogg School District was notified by the Idaho Department of Building Safety that we were not going to be allowed to host the game at home, and would need to find an alternate location. KSD worked out a short-term resolution with the state, and the Kellogg Varsity football team was able to treat the hometown crowd to a 32-0 shutout over rival St. Maries.
Plans have been underway since at least 2020 to demolish the existing concession stand, and rebuild it in a more fitting location. In late May/early June, that foundation was poured on the west end of the Teeters grandstands. The Shoshone News-Press ran an article on June 20 and in an interview with city of Kellogg “Special Projects Manager” Mr. Rod Plank, they outlined plans to complete the project prior to the start of the coming football season, and to hold a dedication of the new facility to the late Craig Lewis to honor him for his outstanding service and contributions to our community.
Unfortunately since that date the project has completely stalled out. Although funding has been in place as the Kellogg School District (KSD) pledged $80,000 (even though the city requested only $75,000), toward the effort. In addition Kellogg boosters were able to raise and donate approximately $12,000 through a spaghetti feed as well as from donations from KHS alumni, and residents inside and outside from the Silver Valley. The local fire department also held a dinner and fundraiser and pledged donations, all with the intent of getting the concession stand open for this coming football season. That’s right, the city is holding and/or is pledged almost $100,000 of district and donor money for this project.
The city has free materials, free labor and material discounts pledged by many of the generous local residents and business owners in the area. Some of these items include lumber (Whiteman’s Lumber and Kellogg Lumber), doors (Shoshone Glass), roofing (Bourgard and Sons), concrete (Zannetti Brothers/Procrete TCS), just to name a few. Additionally, so that we could get rid of the caution tape this year, work has been completed on the grandstands by tearing out old rotted lumber and replacing it. Today (Aug. 31) Teeters is getting its final touch-up coat of paint over the seating and the entire facility to get rid of the graffiti, protect the new bleachers, and shine it up to get ready for Friday's home opener. Again, this is all being done with local donor funding, and labor from community members, teachers, students and athletes. This also includes a new handicapped seating area at the top of the Teeters grandstands, note that the project was done 100% through the labor and material donations from Mr. Tony Silva at Procrete TCS and Zanetti Brothers!
In spite of those efforts, we will be welcoming our hometown fans and guests back to Teeters Field looking much like a construction site, complete with the temporary orange construction fencing and the safety concerns that come with that.
The water that comes out of the old concession stand tap is brown and unusable. In addition, the bathrooms in that building are so unreliable our fans use the blue rooms up on the sidewalk. The concession stand building itself is in violation of IHSAA, and as always as a community “we will make due.” But why?
As we sit today, the city is “waiting on the architect” for the revised plans. Oddly enough this is the same thing they told me over a month ago when I went into the city office and talked to Mr. Rod Plank, and was told, “we should get them Monday.” And that, “the concession stand should be complete in 4-6 weeks.” Also in that meeting, I summarized the capabilities of my company and pledged any assistance that was needed from myself and Nasco, including architectural, engineering, labor, materials, management or expertise. Rod told me that he would discuss this meeting with Keith Teeters (City Building Inspector) and get back to me. I have yet to be contacted by anyone at the city since that date.
My understanding is that somebody at the city decided to change the initial building design from a Beam, to a truss roof design? Who made this decision and why? Who is this architect? Who is accountable for this lack of progress? I can tell you as a local business owner that does general contracting in 40 states across the U.S., that if I ran my business this way — I would no longer be in business!
On Tuesday (Aug. 30), I made a call to Mr. Mike Fitzgerald (Kellogg Director of Public Works) and reminded him of my prior meeting with Rod, and comments from the city. With zero progress being done on the building since that meeting a month earlier, I informed Mike that six weeks from Friday is Kellogg’s Senior night and last home football game. I asked Mike to level with me, at which point he confirmed that it was “unlikely to get the concession stand completed this season.” To which I responded by reminding him of the city’s commitments, and the fact that they are holding onto a whole lot of donor money. I told Mike that I feel like a public apology is in order from the city, and he should do so by publishing it in the Shoshone News-Press. His response was “well, I will run that up the flagpole."
There is a lot of buzz and excitement over Kellogg Football this year and if our boys do what I know they are capable of, it is likely that we will be hosting some post season play. Again, as the IHSAA has already put KSD on notice due to safety concerns, and I do not believe that in the current state of construction, they will allow us to host a playoff game in Kellogg. I hope to not have to deliver that news to our kids. Our kids and our community are clearly putting in the work, where is the city of Kellogg?
I used to drive by a sign on the way to drop my kids off every day at the middle school that read “Our kids are worth whatever it takes.” I believe that is true. City of Kellogg, the ball is in your court!
RICK L. LUNA
Nasco principal, father, former coach and community member