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What would new soccer stadium at Cheney mean for Foss High School, parking?

Women’s professional soccer coming to Tacoma

In a day of big announcements, the Reign FC professional women's soccer team announces its move to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma and the Seattle Sounders' USL men's team changes its name to Tacoma Defiance.
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In a day of big announcements, the Reign FC professional women's soccer team announces its move to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma and the Seattle Sounders' USL men's team changes its name to Tacoma Defiance.

After a proposal to construct a $300 million sports complex project — including a $60 million professional soccer stadium — on the Cheney Stadium campus in Tacoma was released earlier this month, people on social media wanted to know: “Where do the fans park?”

They also shared concerns over impacts to the local baseball community and Foss High School, which has faced closure by the district in the past due to low enrollment and budget concerns.

The soccer stadium, part of the Heidelberg Sports Complex project proposed by Tacoma Defiance and Seattle Sounders, would be constructed on the north side of the Cheney Stadium campus, near 19th street. There are currently five ballfields located on the property, owned by Metro Parks.

Foss High School is located east of Cheney Stadium and south of the proposed soccer stadium on Tacoma Public Schools property.

Parking

Existing parking on the Cheney Stadium campus totals 1,629 stalls on three parking lots. One parking lot serves Cheney Stadium with 1,198 stalls and is owned by the city of Tacoma. Two other lots, one owned by Metro Parks, have a combined 431 stalls.

In a joint feasibility study led by Metro Parks, the plans for the stadium show construction of a 100-stall VIP parking lot for season ticket holders in the first phase of construction and 22 on-street parking spaces, for a net increase of 122 stalls.

The second phase would redevelop one of the parking lots used in part by Foss High School, with196 stalls lost. New development would create an estimated 43 on-street stalls and 98 retail stalls to be used for stadium visitors.

The third phase would redevelop the second parking lot used in part by Foss High School, with a net loss of 135 stalls.

When all is said and done, the Cheney Stadium campus would have 140 fewer parking stalls than it had to start with.

Tacoma Public Schools wants adequate parking included in the development project to accommodate the needs of Foss High School, said district spokesman Dan Voelpel.

“Of course, with both Cheney Stadium, a soccer stadium and commercial/retail development on the site, there’ll need to be substantial parking worked into it,” Voelpel said.

Tim Thompson, who owns a consulting group in Tacoma and was involved in the feasibility study, said those conversations will happen.

“We want to work with them on parking and the availability of spaces and the school itself,” Thompson said.

Because of the size of Foss, the parking capacity is not always filled, Thompson said. He added that times of events at the soccer stadium wouldn’t conflict with school activities.

Impacts to Foss

Aside from parking changes, the development is expected to have no impact on Foss, Voelpel said.

The future of the school came into question in 2011 after Tacoma Public Schools considered a temporary closure due to low enrollment and a budget deficit, The News Tribune’s Debbie Cafazzo reported.

At the time, enrollment was 1,066 students. That continues to decline and is now at 794 students, according to the state Office of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Principal Lysandra Ness said the development could create new partnerships and programs benefiting students.

“The development project, if it moves forward with the current vision, would create a wonderfully vibrant neighborhood around Foss,” Ness told The News Tribune in an email. “With new businesses, a home for new athletic teams and a sports health clinic, it would open up potential partnership opportunities that could benefit future Foss students.”

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