By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Kristen Rushton can’t help but smile as she thinks about playing soccer games in the evening.

The reason she’s smiling? This season it won’t be so dark on the Baker High School soccer field.

Rushton coaches girls soccer at BHS. On Monday and Tuesday, four light poles were installed to illuminate the middle field, which is where the varsity practices and plays.

“It’s like Christmas in August. I have a perma grin,” she said. “I’ve had my list of priorities. Lights were on my wish list.”

The project has been ongoing for about two years, when Pat Flanagan began pursuing grants. Flanagan has been involved with soccer programs in Baker City for about 16 years. This season will be the final one for his daughter, Addie.

“It’s awesome,” Flanagan said Monday as he watched an OTEC volunteer crew drill holes for the light poles.

Flanagan was new to grant writing, and he said Ginger Savage, who is executive director of Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, helped him get started.

“Ash Grove was the first in — and last in,” Flanagan said, who works at the company’s cement plant near Durkee.

The total project cost is $82,467.50.

Donors include:

• Ash Grove: $23,500

• Leo Adler Community Foundation: $18,400

• OSAA: $10,000

• Marvin Wood Products: $10,000

• Girls soccer team: $2,500

• Boys soccer team: $1,000

• Historic Baker City: $1,000

• Northwest Farm Credit Services: $1,000

Baker School District 5J made up the remaining balance.

The project also benefited from in-kind donations and help from A Cut Above, OTEC, Rocky Mountain Colby Pipe, Superior Towing, Charley’s Ice Cream and Baker City Public Works.

Others who worked on the project include Superintendent Mark Witty, Dan Srack and Christy Settles from the district maintenance department, Travis McCully, Craig Ward and J.D. Stevens.

See more in the Aug. 8, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.