Puyallup: News

Bonney Lake to lead Sumner School District’s Recreation Program

The city of Bonney Lake will take over the role of administering the Sumner School District’s Recreation Program, the city announced last month.

A previous responsibility of the district’s, the program provides activities for youth and adults in the community, as well as a before- and after-school activity program for students throughout the year.

The program was first created 20 years ago in partnership with the city.

“We want to continue the partnership,” said Elle Warmuth, communications director for the Sumner School District. “(The program) will continue to offer the same programs.”

We want to continue the partnership. (The program) will continue to offer the same programs.

Elle Warmuth, communications director for the Sumner School District

At first, users of the program will see very little change. The program’s “behind the scenes” work with the human resources and finance departments will be switched over to the city.

“It will start using city forms instead of school district forms,” Bonney Lake City Administrator Don Morrison said. “Internally, it’s quite a bit of work.”

But the result will heed benefits for both the city and the district. As the city moves from paper forms to online registration, it will become easier for people to sign up for activities. It also makes it easier to find volunteers to run the programs, which includes soccer, fastpitch and baseball youth sports.

“It’s been a little challenging to find enough volunteer coaches,” Warmuth said. “We want to make sure we have enough.”

Through the school district, volunteers had to be fingerprinted, go through hours of training and pay fees.

“For cities, it’s a simpler process,” Morrison said. “Parks and recreation programs aren’t school districts’ main focus. We felt it was more suited for a municipality to administer.”

For cities, it’s a simpler process. Parks and recreation programs aren’t school districts’ main focus. We felt it was more suited for a municipality to administer.

Don Morrison, Bonney Lake city administrator

Morrison added that it also made sense for Bonney Lake to take the lead over the program as the city continues to grow and as a large number of Sumner School District students reside in Bonney Lake.

“When you look at the statistics in the enrollment in the recreation program, the vast majority of them come from our zip code, so most of our participants were in the Bonney Lake area, and that made additional sense,” Morrison said.

In April, the district discussed changing the district’s name to the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, but no official decision has been made.

Moving forward, the city will look into adding additional activities and integrating the program with city activities — for example, events at the city’s senior center.

Over time we’ll develop our own vision ... but that’s something we don’t just jump into. We’ll look into that (and) slowly evaluate it.

Don Morrison

“Over time we’ll develop our own vision,” Morrison said. “... But that’s something we don’t just jump into. We’ll look into that (and) slowly evaluate it.”

The city of Sumner was once involved with the program, and may strengthen its partnership with the other two parties moving forward. But for now, Bonney Lake takes the lead.

The fall recreation program will continue as scheduled and is available on the Sumner School District’s website. The location of the office will also stay the same at the Robert Miller Gymnasium, 15206 Daffodil St. Ct. E. in Sumner.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507, @herald_allison

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