The board unanimously approved the resurfacing of the track Monday night in conjunction with another capital project -- around the turf field at
The two jobs must be linked because 80,000-pound concrete trucks will be rolling over the track and are expected to damage the surface layer. Preventative measures could be taken to minimize damage, but when the track already needs resurfacing board members could not justify the added cost.
The track was refinished fourteen years ago, and according to Nancy J. Harris, Assistant Superintendent for Business, the average life of an outdoor track is about 10 years. Harris did note that Staples’ track is made out of higher quality material than other tracks in the area. She said many athletes achieve their best times at Staples, but unfortunately the track will not be resurfaced with the same high-quality material.
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“Compared to other tracks the quality of that surface is the best in the county, with the exception of Danbury,” said Board of Education Chair Don O’Day.
Fuss & O’Neill (F&O), a full service civil and environmental consulting engineering firm, was brought in to advise the appropriate course of action. They found that “the concrete base of the track is wicking upwards and creating blistering of the track surface since the water becomes trapped between the concrete and the track surface,” according to a memo from Harris to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elliot Landon.
Although the field drainage works well, the track, which has an impermeable surface, sits in a wet area and is not aging well. Patch jobs have created an inconsistent running surface that causes safety issues for runners, according to F&O.
“It’s what’s happening underneath is the problem," said Jeff Olszewski, Chief Landscaping Engineer at F&O. “The bubbles get really bad at the end of the season in the summer.”
The resurfacing was initially thought to cost $275,000, but F&Ol came in with a $292,000 estimate Monday. Harris suggested the Board of Education approve a $300,000 grant, which will now be voted on by the Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting (RTM).
Instalation of the field lights are set to begin June 25 and the track resurfacing will commence the week the lights are finished. Harris stressed the importance that this be passed as soon as possible by all boards and commissions as the job will begin to be bid out May 1. If everthing goes to plan the track will be ready for the Staples High School football team when they begin practice August 20. The job will also include the resurfacing of accompanying areas supporting high jump, discus, shot put, javelin and pole vault events.