WENTWORTH —Rockingham County High School will begin a long awaited overhaul to the surface of the track that surrounds Cougar Pride Stadium later this summer.
Dr. Sonja Parks, the assistant superintendent of operations & logistics for the county, confirmed the planning phase is already underway at the Rockingham County Board of Education meeting on June 10.
She said the demolition and construction phases will follow pending approval of contractor bids which will be presented to the group at the July 15 meeting.
The new track will feature a rubber surface over asphalt, much like the current surface, but the group wanted to make sure the cause of the massive deterioration was addressed so it does not happen again moving forward.
Erosion by water which resulted from poor field drainage caused cracks in the asphalt that led to holes in the surface at various sections all around the track. The damage was so bad that school and conference officials deemed the track unfit for competition several years ago.
“We’ve been in the process of reviewing facilities all across the school district and this particular track is severely distressed along over approximately 80% of the surface. The underlying pavement is splitting beneath and we’ve had some geotechnical services evaluate the soil as well as the surface and we felt like the track at Rockingham County High School needed to be repaired,” Parks said.
The board moved forward by hiring the Timmons Group led by engineer and project manager Adam Carroll, who is designing the plan and working with Parks on the assignment.
Carroll is currently working on demolition plans which includes removing the damaged existing rubber surface, leveling it, and then adding an inch to an or an inch and a half of additional concrete followed by a 30 day curing phase.
This will provide a new stable and level foundation. The high jump area will be removed and replaced as well. Perhaps most importantly, the plan is to take out the defective drainage system and install removable surface drains that can be pulled out and cleaned.
After the curing phase is completed, a new rubber surface will be installed which could take up to a week and a half Carroll said. The final phase will include painting the lanes.
“At our last board meeting, last Monday, we shared our design plan with the community on what we are looking to do at the school. This week we are calling contractors to do pre-bid meetings and we hope to have final bids in before the July board meeting to put up for approval so that we can get this project underway,” Parks said earlier this week.
She said the project could cost as much as $350,000, but it won’t be possible to give an accurate estimate until the contractor determines how much concrete, if any, will need to be removed.
“There are a lot of drainage issues. When you look at the track, you’ll see water built up all around the football field. We just want to make sure we address all of those issues moving forward. We are going to put in a comprehensive draining system and we are looking at using removable rubberized mats that they can take up to maintain the track over the next few decades. We want to take care of it and make sure we put some things in our plans right now to help preserve it once the project is complete,” Parks said.
Parks said the school will be required to follow guidelines to maintain the track which will include periodic removal of pieces of the surface to prevent moisture from building up underneath.
There has been some concern voiced by the football program that the construction project could negatively impact access to the field when the 2019 season begins in August, but Parks said the group is cognizant of those concerns and they are prepared to handle the situation accordingly.
“We could start the year with asphalt only and come back later in the fall and put down the rubberized surface and basically do the project in stages. It might be a little bit of inconvenience and we understand that a variety of factors can affect a construction project of this magnitude. Weather can cause delays too, but we will certainly do everything that we can to accommodate our football teams schedule and accommodate our coaches and our team to make sure that they have a good football season. We are also focused on moving forward on the timeline for the track as well and maybe having the project completed in October or November,” Parks said.
Currently, Reidsville Senior High School is the only public school in the county that meets current safety standards to host track events.
Parks said the board is planning renovations on all county tracks eventually.
“This is not the only one that is in bad shape. We want to take a look at all school sites and make sure their needs are addressed. We are real excited about this project and we look forward to getting underway. We are currently working to take care of the pre-bid, the bid and getting it to our board in July and recommending a contractor and getting the project up and running as soon as possible,” Parks said.