Archive for Wednesday, September 26, 2001

BLMS to add straightaway for track teams

September 26, 2001

The Basehor-Linwood Middle School track teams will have an upgrade in facilities for this upcoming season.

On Monday, Sept. 17, the Basehor-Linwood School Board unanimously approved a resolution granting $115,000 in renovations to the track and field facilities.

The school does not have a hard surface track. The track teams use a grass and dirt area around the football field to practice on and the teams compete in home events at Basehor-Linwood High School.

The renovations to the track will not entail the construction of a full hard surface track but a 120-yard straightaway, which will be used for sprinters and hurdlers to practice on.

The straightaway will have a rubber surface similar to the one at BLHS and will have reinforced concrete underneath, school officials said.

Although the school would have preferred to have a whole track, BLMS athletic director Tom Cooper said the school administration was pleased to get the straightaway.

"It would have been nice but it just wasn't to be," Cooper said. "The straightaway still benefits the sprinters and the hurdlers, and it gives them a smooth surface to practice on."

It was the intention of the School Board to build a complete track when the bond issue was passed in November 1997.

Starting the construction was a difficult process, however.

To start construction of the track, the school district first had to obtain land easements from the Kansas Department of Transportation for the north end of the property.

While waiting for the easement, the school district used the money earmarked for the track on two technology labs at the middle school.

Following the completion of the labs, the track project became funded as a capital outlay project, said Don Swartz, director of operations for the school district.

Through preliminary engineering work, the school district learned a complete track would not be feasible because a drainage problem would require the track and the football field to be raised three feet, Swartz said.

"Once we looked into it, we learned it really wasn't possible," Swartz said. "We are dealing with this the best way we can. The straightaway will still give the teams something to practice on."

The bid for construction of the straightaway was awarded to Kansas Heavy Construction of Shawnee. Swartz said the company has done contract work for cities such as Spring Hill, Lawrence and Overland Park, and has a good reputation.

"All the cities we talked to said they would have no problem using them again," Swartz said.

Construction of the straightaway is scheduled to begin Oct. 17, one day after the last BLMS football game, and weather permitting could be completed by mid-March.

The construction of the straightaway all but eliminates the possibility of a whole track at BLMS in the future. The track teams will continue to practice at the middle school and host meets at the high school, Swartz said.

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