Scotland School turning old tires into new track

February 15, 2000

Scotland Track

By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

SCOTLAND, Pa. - Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens ran on cinder tracks, but the champion track and field athletes at the Scotland School for Veterans Children won't have to anymore.

Instead they'll be running on an all-weather track made of recycled tires, according to State Rep. Jeff Coy, D-Franklin. Coy announced Monday the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $75,000 recycling grant to the school for a new track made from old tires.

"By last summer there were more weeds growing in (the track) than cinders," Superintendent Howard F. Bachman said Tuesday. Despite running on the outdated surface, the boys track team won or tied for the Pennsylvania Class II-A championship six times in the last decade, he said.


Bachman said the girls track team has for years produced some of the state's top track and field athletes, as well.

"Your times just aren't that good on cinder tracks," Athletic Director Ralph Dusman said. The track also requires frequent maintenance and often can't be used in bad weather, meaning runners end up practicing on a blacktop oval that is part of the school's road system.

An asphalt base will have to be installed before the new surface can be put down. Bachman said there's a possibility that a local company will donate the asphalt base.

The asphalt will then be topped with a surface made from 41 tons of recycled tires. "It's the same surface they use in the Olympics," Bachman said.

The cost for the rubber surface will be $103,000, according to Bachman. He said the difference will be paid either from the school's foundation or from the school's operating budget.

"We won't be able to have any home meets this year" due to the construction, Bachman said. Dusman said the school has arranged to use other high school tracks for practice and meets during the upcoming season.

Dusman said the runways for the jumping pits will be included in the project.

Bachman said the residential school has about 360 elementary and secondary students, and about 80 percent of the students participate in track.

"This grant has a two-fold benefit. It will help build a new running track for high school students and will reduce the tire piles," Coy said in a news release. The school's grant was among $3 million in waste tire grants awarded across the state, according to Coy's office.

There are about 19 million scrap tires stockpiled in Pennsylvania and the grants will help remove 1.5 million from waste tire piles, according to Coy's office. Some of the 25 grants will be used by companies to purchase tire recycling equipment.

Tire piles present environmental and health hazards, according to Coy's office. The piles are breeding grounds for mosquitos and also pose a fire hazard.

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