As winter track is in season and spring track is right around the corner, West’s runners and track and field athletes will be unable to host home meets because of the current condition of the school’s track in Johnson Stadium, according to coaches.
“We had some damages occur to the track over summer and the first part of this year. I don’t know how, but it wasn’t as bad last year as it was this year. We’ve got to take a look at it. There are sections of the track that are down to the bare concrete, which is unsafe to compete on,” Head Coach Walt Fletcher said. “It’s a major problem we’re working on — getting the short term solution done, but also kind of holding off to wait to see if we’re going to do something with the field. That’s where it could be in the works potentially be around the county to try to find the money to put turf down on the field to get it up to the standards of other counties around us.”
Home track meets may resume in the spring season following patches to the damaged parts of the track, according to Athletic Director Jeff Smith.
“What we’re going to do is, we’re trying to get some patch to where we can temporarily fix the damaged areas to get us through the track season for now,” Smith said. “However, we can’t do anything with that until the temperature stays above 50 degrees because it won’t hold until we have consistent temperatures over 50 to where the stuff will stay in place. My plan is to try and get a patch so we can keep our home meets and improve the condition of the track for our athletes’ safety.”
While temporary fixes will be implemented, the school is working toward getting a more long-term solution for the condition of the track, Smith said.
“We submitted an estimate to central office which is around $118,000 to $250,000 to resurface to be considered to be put on capital improvement request. Capital improvements are major projects that we have to get put on a list for the whole county,” he said. “And what they do is they take them all (from all the schools) and prioritize them. They possibly solicit the county commissioners during budget negotiations to try and get that kind of money to fix the number of improvement projects.”
As repairs are made, practice will continue to be held on the track during the winter and spring seasons.
“I think that it is in very bad condition, especially in lanes one, two and three around the start/finish line, and it’s pretty bad from the 150 mark to the finish line,” senior James Burnette said. “You’ll slip pretty bad even with spikes on. It’s gotten worse since my freshman year. The holes are getting progressively bigger, and every year it seems like the holes keep getting bigger and bigger.”
By: Kole Thomas