The necessity for resurfacing the track at Union High School has administrators exploring the possibility of additional outdoor athletic facility updates.
Assistance Principal and Athletic Director Chris Arand said no one really seems to know the last time the track was resurfaced.
“We’re guessing it’s been over 11 years.”
Arand, who’s been in the athletic director position for the past five years, has seen the condition of the track deteriorate.
He told the board of education during its Monday, Dec. 17, meeting some cracks are down to the asphalt layer beneath the running surface and the area along the start line continues to peel. Over the winter it could get worse, he said.
Washington High School, Arand noted, won’t host any home track meets in the spring because it is in such dire need of repairs.
“We’re getting fairly close to that,” he said.
The Union track is still usable and is in decent enough condition to host meets this coming track season.
However, the track is just one element in the district’s long-range facilities plans regarding athletics.
Superintendent Steve Bryant explained that aesthetic and practical developments in and around the school’s existing outdoor athletic structures, as well as more on-campus elements are being added to a “wish list.”
Items on that list currently include a new track, turf, an arched brick entrance, full field perimeter fencing, away team bleachers and further into the future a baseball and softball fields.
“The turf is just a wish,” Arand said. “The track is something that needs to get done.”
Projects on that wish list would be funded with donations and Bryant said the more unique opportunity to pay for facility enhancements would come from advertising dollars.
With community support and school board approval, a turf field would replace the grass field and ads along the sidelines would be used to pay for the turf. Depending on what price the ads are set at they could potentially fund projects other than the turf field and even the football stadium.
“This isn’t anything that you would call a done deal by any means,” said Bryant, adding that plans are still very much in the brainstorming phase.
“We’re at the early stages evaluating possibilities,” he said.
One thing Bryant is firm on though is who will foot the bill for such projects.
“We’re not wanting to spend a lot of tax dollars on this,” he said, which is one of the reasons advertising built into a turf field is appealing.
Arand is currently working with ATG Sports, a Kansas-based sports facilities construction company, to turn the “wish list” into drawings to present to the school board in the new year.
“Chris (Arand) has done a lot of legwork on this,” Bryant told the board.
Talking with ATG Sports at this point is helpful, Bryant said, when it comes to preparing requests for a bid.
A time frame in which to start and compete the projects as well as what will actually be able to be accomplished is still up in the air according to Bryant.
“If we get the proper momentum we could do a portion of it maybe this spring,” he said.