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Spokane Public School Board members still grappling with name for new downtown stadium

Both Spokane Public Schools and the Public Facilities District need to agree on a stadium name and sponsor.

SPOKANE, Wash. — First, a little background.

Spokane Public Schools (SPS) has partnered with the Public Facilities District, (PFD), which owns and operates venues like the Spokane arena, and the Podium.

SPS provided funding for the new downtown sports stadium. The PFD provided the land, parking and will manage the facility once it opens in a few months.

Both sides need to agree on a stadium name and sponsor. The PFD, along with United Soccer League Spokane (USL) have now made recommendations.They voted to call the facility the North Bank Stadium, presented by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.

"I would agree that north bank wouldn't be my first choice," school board president Mike Wiser said during Wednesday's meeting.

Board members laid out stadium naming criteria months ago.

That document says the word "Spokane" should be included in the stadium name. It also says a sponsor can not include industries associated with alcohol, tobacco and gambling.

The PFD and USL are recommending Kalispel Field or Northern Quest Field.

"I'm not comfortable with Northern Quest field because Northern Quest, we know, is a casino here," said school board member Melissa Bedford.

United Soccer League Spokane Club Owner Ryan Harnetiaux said the team's first choice is Northern Quest Field, adding it will "no doubt bring USL Spokane a higher valuation, as it has a more direct link to the Kalispel's main economic engine, it's resort asset."

The district's naming criteria also states that if a Native American tribe is considered, the PFD must also consult with the Kalispel, Spokane and Colville tribes prior to even proposing the name. It appears they've only met with the Kalispel tribe.

"We understand, as of tonight, the tribal consultation is still in process," Shawn Jordan, the district's chief operations officer said.

SPS and the PFD do agree that Joe Albi's legacy will live on at the new facility. There are plans to name a plaza and the adjacent road after him and place Albi's statue on site as well.

The stadium is on track to open this fall. It's unclear when board members will approve a name and sponsor.

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