Safety concerns necessitate summer renovations for track surface and football field turf

May 27, 2023 — by Kathy Wang
An “Under Construction” sign replaces the old sign — that showed the opening hours of the track and field.
The school board planned a project to renovate the track and Benny Pierce field.

Due to safety concerns expressed by the administration and athletic director Rick Ellis, the school board has OK’d a summer project to renovate the school’s track and Benny Pierce field. As a result, the track and field area will be closed from June 12 until Aug. 17, the first day of the 2023-24 school year.

 Large cracks posing safety hazards have accumulated on the track since its last renovation in 2011. Additionally, the turf field has worn out from overuse and a large dip has also formed on the edge due to recent storms. 

The district did not respond to requests for information about the cost of the project in time for publication.

The turf failed the most recent GMAX test conducted in June 2022, which measures the ability of a playing surface to absorb shock or kinetic energy from a collision. 

“The track and field gets used daily and it is open to the public,” maintenance supervisor Paul Weir said. “Our community enjoys it, but that also contributes to accelerating wear, so 15 plus years is when it’s ready to be replaced.” 

According to assistant principal Mathew Torrens, the renovation project will involve excavation and replacement of the underlayment for the turf, along with installation of a new turf surface that “has been used in other areas of the school and is confirmed by the state as safe.” The top layer of the track will also be resurfaced and restriped, meaning new number and line signals will be painted on it.

“When you’re doing a construction project, you’re gonna have to balance safety, usage, the utility as well as cost, so all these factors are at play,” Torrens said.

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