Home Depot lends KSS a hand

Craig Gascoyne, of Seabeck (foreground), and Jeff Taylor, of Poulsbo, were two volunteers onhand at KSS Friday. - Aaron Managhan/staff photo
Craig Gascoyne, of Seabeck (foreground), and Jeff Taylor, of Poulsbo, were two volunteers onhand at KSS Friday.
— image credit: Aaron Managhan/staff photo

Since Klahowya Secondary School opened, it’s baseball and softball players have become quite acquainted with spring weather in Washington.

After all, they’ve been playing it in, practicing in it and sitting it in all along.

But now, thanks to the Home Depot’s Team Depot Project, at least they won’t have to do the latter.

Klahowya was selected as the beneficiary of the Team Depot Project, meaning that for the first time, both dugouts on the baseball and softball diamonds will be covered. The project also calls for a fence extension down the baseball field’s right field line that will help keep some foul balls in, but more importantly, keep animals like deer off the field.

“I still am in awe,” Klahowya baseball coach David Neet said. “When I see 25 people out here, you get that sense of community. It’s people coming together.”

The project will cost about $6,000, which the Home Depot donates. That doesn’t include estimated labor costs, as the workers are all volunteers. Workers spent Thursday and Friday last week working on the project.

The ball began rolling when Neet found out about the project through members of the KSS baseball family with Home Depot connections. Both Neet and project manager Karin Musselman, of Poulsbo, said those connections were not what garnered Klahowya’s selection.

Musselman, who’s been leading the project team for six months, said Home Depot works on 7-to-10 projects a year within the greater Olympic Peninsula region. An upcoming project will take place at Kingston Junior High School, and recent completed projects have taken place in Sequim, Belfair, Tahuya and Seattle.

“It’s a satisfaction to give back to our community,” Musselman, a Poulsbo resident, said. “We try very hard with donations and volunteers to work with schools, fire departments, non-profit organizations. It’s really gratifying to see.”

For the weather aspect alone KSS softball coach Holly Carver is appreciative.

“We live in Washington,” Carver said with a grin. “Our girls will not be wet. We can keep score, everything. It’s great.”

This offseason, Neet said he noticed areas of the outfield that were unsafe due to roaming deer populations around Klahowya. Geese also typically use the fields for foraging.

“We have a lot of wild animals in this area,” Neet said. “There’s a lot of feces on this field. That’s a problem.”

But it will be less of one now, thanks to the project.

“One of our goals is we want the kids to be proud of where they play,” Neet said. “We don’t want it to be recognized as a poor field. We know we can’t do that all at once, but we can do it one check at a time.”

Or two in this case.

“There’s multiple things (we want to do),” Neet said. And this is two more things off that list.”

Carver said the work is greatly appreciated, considering there’s no room in the budget for this size of project.

“It would never be able to happen (otherwise),” she said. “We could not afford to pay for it with our budget.”

Which is why Home Depot began it’s community service projects 29 years ago to begin with.

“We try to spread it out,” Musselman said. “Sometimes it’s just a monetary donation. But to see this many Home Depot people out here is pretty nice.”

Home Depot employees from Poulsbo, Sequim and other area stores came down to work on the project, as several Kitsap Depot workers helped completely a Sequim project in the recent past.

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