MONTICELLO – A polyurethane surface for Monticello High School’s all-weather track will cost more up front, but in the long run will save the district dollars, the school system’s superintendent told school board members on March 24.
The track, installed in the 1970s, needs an overhaul after its last major rehab in 1997. Superintendent Vic Zimmerman said bids originally asked for companies to stick with a latex rubberized surface, and to mill down and replace about 1.5 inches of asphalt that lies beneath.
Concern was shown by bidders that milling could damage too much of the asphalt due to its age.
Missouri-based sports surface company Byrne & Jones Construction proposed a different method.
“They proposed taking the rubber off, but not milling the existing asphalt. Instead of milling the existing asphalt, they would fill the cracks, use a fabric on top, then put an additional two inches of asphalt on top of the existing asphalt,” Zimmerman said.
“That way, there would be no way to mill down through the existing asphalt to the dirt, and give us a 2 inch higher surface.”
The original proposal – which would split the bids between asphalt and track surface contractors – would cost about $225,000. Using two contractors to install polyurethane would be $275,000.
Having Byrne & Jones do the entire project will cost $289,000, the option recommended by Zimmerman and approved by the school board.
“I’m going to recommend going with the Byrne and Jones all-in price, because this is what they do, they do sports fields and tracks,” he said.
The higher surface will help drainage, and the newer method is projected to last about 10 years longer before needing replacement.
“These tracks have a lifetime of about 25 years, versus the lifetime of our current track, which is right around 14 years. So the long-term cost will be less expensive to utilize the polyurethane track,” Zimmerman said.
Byrne & Jones has installed tracks at several area schools, including Unity, Maroa-Forsyth, Argenta-Oreana, Okaw Valley, Westville and Tuscola. The firm has also put in turf fields at Unity, Argenta-Oreana and Maroa-Forsyth.
The new track surface at MHS should be installed by late August, although the striping may not be done by that time.
Middle/High School Athletic Director Dan Sheehan told the school board he was pleased with state changes allowing more spectators to attend sporting events.
“With the modification to Phase IV, they allowed us to increase to 50 from 25 percent (capacity) for indoors, so that was a big win for our fans, especially in-season for volleyball, which allows for more spectators,” Sheehan said.
If Illinois enters a “bridge” phase between Phase IV and Phase V, capacity could increase to 60 percent.
Guidelines allow for about 600 to attend local high school football games.
“It’s gone really well. We’re asking spectators to be in the bleachers, social distance, wear masks, and we’ve had no issues. So our parents, our community, our students are all following the rules,” said the athletic director.
He hopes the masking requirement for athletes in outdoor venues can be lifted soon, noting it was not a requirement during the fall season.
The sports calendar got even more hectic when baseball, softball, girls soccer and track began practicing this week, along with games still going on for boys soccer, volleyball and football.
Most “summer” sports – baseball, softball, girls soccer and track – will start their seasons the week of April 19, with wrestling hitting the mats on April 29.