Spokane Schools survey showed overwhelming support for downtown stadium

SPOKANE, Wash – Most of the people who filled out a Thought Exchange survey through the Spokane Schools website had positive things to say about a proposal to build the new stadium downtown.

The school district was already moving forward with plans to build a new stadium at the Joe Albi site in northwest Spokane. In an advisory vote in 2018, Spokane County voters said they preferred to build a new stadium there instead of downtown. But, just as demolition work was about to begin on the old Albi, a new proposal surfaced that calls for the stadium to be built on Boone Avenue next to the Spokane Arena. That proposal calls for the Spokane Public Facilities District to operate the stadium, saving the school district $17 million.

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Before making its decision on how to move forward, the school board wanted to hear input from the community. That included two public meetings, in which the majority of people spoke in favor of the downtown stadium, and also a Thought Exchange survey online. Results from that survey will be presented to the school board Wednesday night, but the presentation was posted Tuesday on the school district’s website as part of the board meeting agenda.

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The survey yielded responses from 7,704 people; 48 percent considered themselves community members, 30 percent said they were parents, 14 percent listed themselves as staff and eight percent of respondents were students.

Most of the people surveyed, 28 percent, live in northwest Spokane and 86 percent said they lived within the school district boundaries.

Thought Exchange allows people to comment, then shares those comments with other respondents. Respondents then select if they agree or disagree with other comments that are shared. The graph below shows the overwhelming number of comments showed support for the downtown proposal, with comments showing support for a stadium at the Joe Albi site a distant second.

Stadium survey

Common themes overall included concern over the Civic Theater, which is next to the proposed new stadium; also, people were concerned about availability of parking – and, wanting that parking to be free so that it is accessible to everyone in the community, regardless of income.

According to the stadium proposal, land would be acquired for 500 parking spaces for the stadium site. The district says the nearby Wonder Building has space for another 300 cars. Because the Albi site will also include one of the district’s new middle schools, available parking there would be closer to 500 spots. The district says public transportation more easily serves the downtown location.

Of those who opposed the plan to build the stadium downtown, people expressed concern that the district was ignoring the previous advisory vote. They also said the school district should not enter into a public/private partnership with the professional soccer team which would be a major tenant of the stadium.

You can see the full powerpoint presentation at this link. 

Spokane Schools also has a list of frequently asked questions about both stadium options, which you can access here. 

The school board will hear the presentation at a meeting Wednesday night. The board plans to discuss the options and possibly make a decision on April 21st.