Jefferson's 'Upper Deck' torn down Friday


Sports editor

The Upper Deck is now scrap wood.

Thomas Jefferson High School officials tore down the student-constructed structure which sat in right centerfield at the school’s baseball field Friday afternoon. Principal George Ilgenfritz, along with the school’s construction class, took the plywood deck off the top of the Upper Deck before the Raiders’ home game against Bethel.

“I went out there and checked it out,” said Ilgenfritz. “And the only way I was going to keep kids off of it was to take it down.”

Friday’s game was the annual “Disco On The Diamond” promotion at the school. The event, which involves both Raider baseball and fastpitch, has disc jockeys playing music and giving away prizes between innings and is the best-attended game of the year.

“That was the main reason we built the Upper Deck,” said senior Kyle Murray. “We built it for today.”

Federal Way Public Schools officials shut down the Upper Deck two weeks ago until the district’s risk management office could inspect the structure.

Rick LaBoyne, the assistant risk management/security officer, took a look at the Upper Deck last week and forwarded his decision to district officials in the superintendent’s office, as well as Ilgenfritz.

“(LaBoyne) said it was not a safe structure and there is no way that thing is going to pass code,” said Ilgenfritz. “And taking it down was the only way I was going to keep kids off of it. I just did something to be preventative. If something happened out there, oh boy.”

District officials cited insurance liability issues with the patched-together structure.

“It was really a great idea by the kids,” Ilgenfritz said. “It was really innovative, but it had to be 7-feet off the ground, and if we got 20 to 30 kids up there, we would have a big problem.”

The Upper Deck got its name from the Jefferson seniors who built it on school district property. They included Cam Warner, Aaron Bradford, Paul Klingburg, Murray, Jonny Angel and Taylor Landurd.

The students gathered up scrap 2x4s and plywood sheets that were set to be thrown away by home builders in the area.

The students constructed the deck where a scoreboard used to sit above the outfield fence.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565 sports@fedway

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