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The renovation of the track and field facilities at the Siloam Springs Middle School is expected to be complete as early as next month.

Shane Patrick, director of operations for the district, gave school board members a report on the progress of the project during their meeting on Thursday. Depending on weather, the track is expected to be complete between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1, he said.

The school district partnered with John Brown University to renovate the track facility around Glenn W. Black Stadium last October. The university announced plans to launch an NAIA Intercollegiate men's and women's track and field program at the same time.

The renovations include rebuilding the track sub-surface and installing a higher quality running surface. The interior ends of the track are also being made more functional for field events and a steeple chase pit is being added. In addition, the west visitor stands were removed earlier this year to make more room for field events and the public restrooms in the east stands are being renovated.

The school district originally hoped to complete the track before the school year began, according to Superintendent Jody Wiggins. However, neither the school district or JBU currently need the facility for sports, he said. Junior high football practice is taking place in the practice fields on the southwest side of the school until the project is complete, he said.

When the contract was originally negotiated, it included some flexibility on the end date to bring the cost down, Wiggins said. Rainy weather over the summer also delayed the completion, he said.

There were a few issues that came up with the project since the July school board meeting, Patrick said. A few survey points were off by a tiny amount which created a huge problem when contractors began to build curbing, however the general contractor found the problem immediately and had the points resurveyed, Patrick said.

In addition, once the asphalt for the track is in place, it has to cure for 14 to 28 days before the epoxy surface is added or it could peel off in the future, Patrick said. School officials made the decision to wait 30 days to make sure the track lasts, he said.

"It's going to be done right and it's going to last and its going to be a great facility when we are done," he said.

In other business, the school board took the following actions:

• Approved the transportation department handbook.

• Accepted the resignation of Kevin Downing, athletic director.

• Hired Kenneth Harriman as interim athletic director.

• Hired Clayton Taylor as high school special education teacher.

• Accepted the transfer of 17 students from the Siloam Springs School District to the Gentry School District. Wiggins noted that none of the 17 students have ever attended Siloam Springs Schools and most of them previously attended Gentry Schools, where they wanted to remain, but recently moved into the Siloam Springs School District.

• Approved the creation of four new full-time teaching positions for the 2019-2020 school year to be filled only as needed for class size adjustment.

General News on 08/11/2019

Print Headline: Track renovation nearly complete

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