By Brad Mosher
The old track is gone at Neah-Kah-Nie High School.
It will soon be replaced with a new synthetic surface that school district superintendent hopes will last for more than 50 years.
“The old track and the field was in very bad condition and had various safety concerns (lack of functioning interior and exterior drainage, synthetic track surface was buckling, the synthetic surface was extremely hard and lost its “bounce”, etc.),” Paul Erlebach said Friday.
The project was a high priority with the school district and will cost $2.5 million to complete, he said.
The funding for the project came from the Construction Excise Tax, a Small Schools Grant, property taxes and timber revenue, according to the superintendent.
The school board decided not to go to the voters for a bond for this project because the District’s current bond (middle school construction and district-wide school renovation projects) does not expire until 2025, he explained.
“Construction costs include demo existing track; new asphalt and base; synthetic track surface; concrete header at track, shot put and discus; lawn repair; spectator fence; shot put cinders; long jump pit sand; field lighting; interior drainage; storm drainage; a concession stand and bathroom structure, and other associated indirect construction and soft costs,” Erlebach said.
The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-September, before the football team has its first home game.
According to the superintendent, the facility is not only used by students, but is used by the rest of the local residents as well.
The new facility, once completed, will be an upgrade over an aging track complex which had a number of problems, the superintendent said.
“The project expands the old six-lane track to an eight-lane regulation size track. This will enable high school and middle school district track and field meets to be held at NKN.
“These district meets will bring in a large number of participants and visitors. Also planned is a sixth and fifth grade track and field meet.
“The Mudd Nick Foundation is considering sponsoring a summer track and field meet for all area youth,” Erlebach added.