At its March meeting, the Thayer Central school board approved plans to make improvements to the track; costs could reach $700,000 and beyond.
“We need to solve some drainage issues in an effort to maximize the life of our track,” said Thayer Central Superintendent Drew Harris, adding the entire project involves putting in a completely new track, irrigating the interior of the track area, restructuring the field events stations, and putting in infra-structure to facilitate other projects down the line.
Funding to start is available as the board has budgeted for the expense in the past few years. “We knew we were going to have to do something,” the superintendent said, “so we allowed for the expense in the building fund.”
In his most recent newsletter, the superintendent suggests developing issues with the track are causing concern for safety, specifically cracking due to problems with the base. Resurfacing the track really won’t address the issue since the problem is underneath the surface. The board agrees.
“There’s a drainage problem that needs to be fixed,” said board member Mike Prellwitz. “Right now water flows underneath the surface which is damaging the base and since the base is bad it needs to be replaced. We need to raise it a couple of feet and fix the drainage to flow away from the track.”
And since the board is essentially working from the ground up, other jobs have managed to piggy-back themselves to the main issue. “We have wanted to move the football field from the Sports Complex up to the school,” Prellwitz explained, “and starting from scratch on the track will allow us to prepare for that.”
Harris said he wasn’t sure if moving the football field from the downtown area up to the school’s track area would ever happen, but if it did, the school would be ready once the track project is done.
Along with removal of the existing track surface and base, increasing the track size to eight lanes, improving drainage and adding rubberized surfacing to the track, new field event areas will be created, irrigation will be added, wiring and conduit for lighting will be installed, and parking will be extended.
“These plans complement the Thayer Central Athletic Boosters’ plans for athletic facility improvements,” Superintendent Harris said in his newsletter. “They serve as Phase I of their proposal.”
The school administration and board of education have been working in conjunction with the Athletic Boosters and details of the plan can be found on the school website at www.thayercentral.org. Click on the ‘Boosters’ tab at the top of the home page.
While it isn’t really known how quickly the work can get done, the board is optimistic about having the new track ready for the 2012 season. “It will depend on the bidding,” Superintendent Harris said. “Right now we are at the design and research stage.”