After several stagnant weeks, construction has begun on the Memorial Stadium track at Horace J. Good Middle School, pointing to a mid- to late October completion date, weather permitting.
The project, which will replace the track’s base and surface, originally was expected to last eight weeks: two weeks to complete the asphalt base, four weeks to wait for the asphalt to cure and two weeks to install and paint the all-weather surface.
Under the current timeline, the track and field will be out of commission through the middle school football season, which runs through Oct. 11, but could be available for both district middle schools’ spring track seasons.
A late October end date rides an unpredictable deadline for the final phase of the project, which requires warmer temperatures for the all-weather surface to adhere properly to the asphalt, USD 457 Plant Facilities Director John Geist said. Should the work undergo more delays and the weather become too cold to continue, he said, there was a possibility the project would be postponed until the spring, more than likely after the end of the 2018-19 school year.
A team from contractor AstroTurf began working on the track’s base Aug. 15 and 16, though work was quickly suspended for several days due to a rainy weekend, Geist said. So far, workers have removed 10 inches of the track’s asphalt and cinder base and the dirt below and begun building the new, 6-inch base, Geist said. Once the new base is complete, AstroTurf will lay 4 inches of asphalt on top of it, he said.
Due to weather delays and the upcoming holiday weekend, Geist said, he expects the first phase to finish up by next week.
The following four-week curing process, where workers clear out and wait to begin phase three, can not be affected by weather, Geist said. Weather permitting, the third phase of the project should begin in early October and end two weeks later, he said.
“The contractor’s doing a great job. They’re staying on it. It’s obvious they know what they’re doing, and we’re going to have a very good project when this is all done,” Geist said.
Garden City USD 457 encountered unexpected structural issues during a track resurfacing project at the stadium earlier this year, ultimately leading to the Board of Education’s approval of a full removal and replacement of the all-weather track for $373,950.
The replacement was among the more expensive repair options, though less costly alternatives, such as asphalt or a complete track removal, would mean the stadium could no longer host middle school track meets. The decision caused a split on the board, with some members wary of the expenses and others arguing the need to maintain a stadium that was often used by district schools and community members.
The board ultimately approved the project in late June, but it was placed on hold for several weeks as the district waited for AstroTurf to find time to return to the project. As Geist previously told The Telegram, USD 457 signed with the company for the initial resurfacing project, but the discovery and approval of additional structural repairs caused the district to miss an available opening in the company’s packed summer schedule.
The contractor was able to return to the project for the mid-August start date.
During construction, the school will not be able to use the track or football field for student games or competitions, Geist said. This season, HGMS and Kenneth Henderson Middle School football games will be played at the KHMS stadium, and a game between the two schools will be played at Buffalo Stadium at Garden City High School, Roy Cessna, USD 457 public information officer, previously said.
Cessna said district officials had discussed a contingency plan for track meets if the project gets delayed through the end of the year, but will wait until construction is further along to make a final determination.
As of now, Cessna said the project was on track to finish in October.
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