JERRY CITY – Local schools in Elmwood are studying what can be done to improve their track at the football stadium.
Matt Wilson, with Vasco Sports Contractors in Massillon, attended the December school board meeting via Zoom to explain options to rejuvenate the track or rebuild it.
Wilson is the Division Manager for Vasco, who has been in business for 45 years and has worked at Bowling Green State University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Akron.
Gregg Abke, facilities and grounds supervisor, said a urethane surface was put on the track when it was built in 2012.
Repairs were made over the summer where the runway surface was chipping and cracking, he said.
“These repairs have been done, but it’s a band-aid,” Abke said, adding that they could last a year or two.
The school board approved the football stadium works in 2011, which included a new all-season track encircling the football field; 1,500 new residential bleachers and 500 visitor bleachers; new lighting; and new venues for other track and field events such as the high jump cost just over $ 1 million.
The track portion was around $ 475,000, Abke said.
Wilson said to rejuvenate the track, his company would repair various areas of the track with rubber and a binder and apply two coats of a polyurethane product that would add 1/8 of an inch of thickness. This should be done every eight to ten years for the life of the track.
The estimated cost of this option to close the runway is $ 94,384.
“From what I understand, that would kick-start the box seven to ten years before we consider a full replacement,” said Abke.
The lifespan of a track is based on asphalt and the typical lifespan is 25 years, Wilson said.
“This is the time when we start to look at this secondary option,” he said.
The second option involves rebuilding the runway at an estimated cost of $ 272,465.
Vasco will remove the existing rubber surface and haul it, mill the existing asphalt 1.5 inches, spray a tack coat over the existing asphalt, then add 1.5 inches of hot mixed asphalt over the entire track . The company will then install half an inch of polyresin.
Another company would be responsible for repairing the trench drains.
This option would last for at least 15 years, Abke said.
For both options, the track would be cut again.
Board member Brian King said the district had struggled with water issues on the track for years.
Wilson said the second option is a porous system that will better drain water through rubber and asphalt and avoid puddles on the track surface.
The runway life extension will run for 20 years, possibly until 2052, he said.
Parent Tony Morlock, owner of Morlock Asphalt in Portage, said the challenge was elevating the track.
He said the original track was not a cheap option and is a great system that holds up.
King said that since this is a high-end track, it would make sense to keep it rather than replace it.
Wilson said the first option would protect the existing surface, but the district will have to live with the elevation issues it faces. The second option will remove the water and correct the slope.
There is currently water in the high jump area, which has been a problem from the start, Abke said. The slope in this area is flat and without slope. He tried to get it corrected, but most of the problems are in the surface of the track.
King asked Wilson if the first option would rectify these issues.
Wilson said this option would only solve wear and tear issues and last eight years before needing to be reapplied.
Gas bubbles are visible as well as a ripple near the dashboard where the asphalt has cracked. A member of the public said they saw children tripping over the cracks.
Wilson said the topcoat will fill in cracks and repair worn areas, but won’t change the ups and downs on the track.
He said his company booked 85% from May 1 to mid-August. He said he would need a window of opportunity when work can be done next summer or summer 2023.
Wilson warned that his company adjusted polyurethane prices every two months.
The first option will take a week, the second option will take 60 days.
“The sooner you find out, the better for us,” Wilson said.
King sought Wilson’s professional advice.
Wilson said a school’s financial image is the challenge.
“In my professional opinion, I don’t think waiting a year or two is going to make your setup a major problem if you choose option one,” said Wilson, who has walked the trail.
Something will have to be done over the next two or three years to address the wear and tear on the surface, he said.
Morlock pointed out that if Vasco started milling the track and found problems with the base, it would increase costs.
“When do you put money into an existing track,” King said.
A Texas company has mapped out the original trail and it is difficult to reach the district for repairs, Abke said.
After the Zoom call ended, Board member Debbie Reynolds said she was hesitant to join the company and asked how many people were doing so.
Not much, King said.
The question is whether we want to keep the surface that exists or go with a bigger project, he said.
“I appreciate the foresight,” Reynolds said, and stressed that the district will have to bid based on the cost of the project.
Also at the meeting, the board approved the purchase of 400 Chromebooks and licenses for $ 99,600.