By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

After a string of vandalism that concluded with the cutting of lacrosse nets in April, McNary principal Erik Jespersen had to make a difficult decision and lock the gate to the track and turf field until security could be increased.

“It wasn’t a knee jerk reaction, certainly,” Jespersen said. “We actually sustained several hits before finally I felt like I had to boost up our security. It was with a very heavy heart that we had to close the facility for a while because it’s really not what I want to do but I really don’t want our stuff to get destroyed either.”

The concession stand has received the brunt of the damage, with doors and sliding glass windows having to be replaced multiple times. A golf cart and Gator utility vehicle were also stolen. The Gator was later found at Keizer Rapids Park by the river with a broken axle.

“McNary is Keizer’s school and we want to make sure that our doors are open to the community,” Jespersen said. “We’re also asking that the community help us keep it safe and accessible. We all need to do the best we can to look out for each others’ things. If there is anybody that knows anything or has any leads, let us know or let Keizer PD know because we all want to make sure our campus and our fields and our track is in good shape and we all need to take some ownership in that.”

McNary is in the process of increasing security by adding lights and an alarm to the concession stand. Once that work is complete, the track and field will open from dawn to dusk.

“My hope is that all of the work will be done and we’ll have the community be able to come in and enjoy our wonderful facility,” Jespersen said. “Hopefully no one will think about breaking in again but if they do the chances of them getting caught are quite a bit higher.”

The turf field was a $1 million dollar project completed in the summer of 2015 thanks to donations from the Keizer community.

“People, I think, are going to be appreciative that we’re trying to take care of our stuff but on the other hand we wouldn’t have had that turf field if it wasn’t for the good people of Keizer pitching in their own dollars,” Jespersen said. “Can you imagine if someone came in and damaged our turf field? I’d feel horrible about that. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened and I want to keep it that way.”