Aspen schools to get new track in spring | AspenTimes.com

Aspen schools to get new track in spring

Laura Sugaski/The Aspen TimesThe Aspen School District track was torn up earlier this summer to make way for a new surface.

ASPEN – Runners hoping to take a few laps around a freshly laid track at the Aspen School District turf field will have to wait until next spring.

The track’s surface – which was damaged by “tree roots, snow-removal equipment, and just wear and tear,” according to Aspen School District officials – was removed earlier this summer.

However, district officials decided to postpone its replacement until 2013 for financial reasons.

“District employees removed the tree roots that had grown through the track’s surface, which caused severe damage to the track, and have scraped the surface material of the track in preparation for next spring’s surface replacement,” said Aspen School District Superintendent John Maloy.

According to Maloy, the cost to replace the track is approximately $265,000. While the district has these funds in its accounts, the project was not budgeted for

2012.

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“The district needs to budget and prioritize for large-expenditure items such as (the) track surface,” he said. “Although the funds are available at this time to make the complete track repairs, the track replacement was not built into the capital-expenditure plan for this summer, as other priorities throughout the district have taken precedence.

“Consequently, dollars for the track are being targeted and set aside in next year’s capital expenditures.”

Maloy said the damaged material that was removed from the track this summer was recycled by a local horse farm, saving the district about $15,000 in hauling and dumping costs.

For now, the track’s undersurface is cleaned and smoothed, “making it safe for short-term use,” Maloy said.

When the new track is set in the spring, district officials will likely impose greater restrictions on its use. At a June meeting of the Aspen Board of Education, Maloy expressed concern about how the track – and the turf field that it surrounds – were being treated.

“We’ve run into people driving across the track, taking animals to the track, food … things that just shouldn’t be happening,” Maloy said, adding that the district will probably adopt “restrictions much like Aspen Parks and Recreation enforces on its turf field and the immediate area surrounding the field.”

School board members also said they wanted to be sure that when the snow-removal contract comes up for renewal, the company selected to do the work is familiar with working on artificial turf and track surfaces. The city of Aspen currently holds the snow-removal contract.

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com