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Officials: Greencastle-Antrim school track unsafe for competition

August 19, 2010|By DANA BROWN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- With the start of the school year still more than a week away, the Greencastle-Antrim School District is looking at scratching home spring track meets off the school calendar.

School officials told the school board Thursday the condition of the school track's surface makes it unsafe for competition.

The track surface was previously identified as needing repair but extended days of hot temperatures and lack of rain throughout the summer have caused further deterioration, according to Tom Dick, the district's director of transportation and facilities.

"The track is in very bad shape," Dick said.

"With the condition that exists right now, there's a possibility we won't have home track meets," Athletic Director Vicki Ritchey said.

Dick explained that "pot holes" are apparent on several areas of the track and on runways for the long jump and high jump areas.

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"They are starting to pop up all over the track," Dick said.

He said the deterioration is not due to public use of the track or due to vandalism.

The track has an asphalt base with a rubber urethane surface, Dick said. The extreme heat this summer has caused the asphalt underneath the surface to "explode."

Dick said that while patching the track surface was an option, it would be a temporary fix. Dick estimated it would cost $10,000 to $12,000 to patch the surface. He cautioned the board to address the deterioration before the base is damaged and requires repair in addition to the resurfacing needed. Dick said previous temporary patching is starting to come lose.

Ritchey said the track is not being used heavily at the current time. She said the cross country and field hockey teams continue to use the track for practice and conditioning but have to work around the problem areas.

"They're pretty visible," Ritchey said.

The main concern is for the runners' safety, she said.

The current condition of the track would also not be conducive to competition, Ritchey said.

"For competition, there is no way you can work around it," Ritchey said.

Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said there is no doubt the track must be resurfaced.

"It's a matter of timing," Hoover said.

The school board is looking at a proposed multi-million dollar building project that could encompass the athletic facilities.

Hoover said the hope is that "money for the track will be part of the bond issue."

"The bottom line is we eventually have to resurface it," he said.

"We want to address it before the start of the spring track season," Ritchey said.

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