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Jamestown High School runners won’t be pounding the pavement of their own outdoor track this year, as contractor issues have delayed the completion of the track’s new running surface.
Charlottesville-based Precision Sports Surfaces Inc. was contracted in June to repave the 18-year-old track, but after removing the top rubberized layer from the track, the contractor found it could not complete the job within its projected $114,041 budget.
Precision Sports Surfaces and the Williamsburg-James City County School Division agreed to a mutual separation. WJCC terminated the contract and, on Oct. 6, requested the School Board approve a contract for Dundalk, Md.-based American Tennis Courts to complete the work.
In order to install the running surface without issue, the contractor needed 10 days of temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In an email to WYDaily, school division spokeswoman Betsy Overkamp-Smith confirmed that “colder temperatures” have forced the contractor to wait until next spring to finish the job.
“It is our intention that the track will be completed during the spring track season, but we know for certain that it will not be ready for the start of practice in February,” Overkamp-Smith wrote. “It is very important that the project be completed correctly and in a manner that provides students with a quality running surface for many years into the future.”
American Tennis Courts will now be responsible for installing “a durable and resilient surface for running track, high jump, pole vault, and long and triple jump areas,” marking lines according to the latest national standards and remaining within the allocated dimensions of impervious area, according to a WJCC school division memo.
Outdoor Track & Field Coach Dan Schlickenmeyer said he does not anticipate the track will be completed before the end of the outdoor track season. He said he has vowed not to use the track as-is for cross-country, indoor or outdoor track this year due to student injuries that occurred even before the top layer was removed.
“You can’t train kids on what is basically a street,” Schlickenmeyer said.
Schlickenmeyer said the more than 90 students on the track teams will be bused to Warhill and Lafayette high schools to train on their outdoor tracks three days a week. The other two days will be devoted to workouts on Jamestown’s fields and runs in the surrounding area, he said.
Senior runner Skye Thomson said she and her teammates were “extremely disappointed” the track would not be completed in time for the outdoor season. With the additional travel for practice, Thomson said she was concerned about balancing her athletic and academic obligations.
“Senior year for some people is their easy year,” Thomson said. “I’m taking really hard classes and I’m not sure how it will work.”
However, teammates said they were not worried about students dropping outdoor track because of the travel and track repavement issues. Senior Kathleen Yates said traveling to train at other schools could tighten rivalries but also forge stronger friendships among runners.
“We’re definitely very appreciative they’re letting us use their facilities because we also know it’s an inconvenience for them,” Yates said. “Overall I think our coaches and athletic coordinator are doing a good job compensating for not having the new track.”
The school division had earmarked $164,405 for the project in its 2016 capital improvement plan. After paying Precision Sports Surfaces $13,423.45 for the work it completed and $121,125 to American Tennis Courts to finish the job, the project will remain under budget at $134,548.45.