Track talk is cheap for district
Thanks to Baker University, the Baldwin School District might be building a track for a discounted price.
Jim Drew, Precision Sports Fields, was hired by Baker to lead the renovations at Liston Stadium this year. Drew attended the Baldwin Board of Education meeting Monday night to give an update on the possibility of a track for the district.
"We're the ones who have been tearing everything up over at Baker," Drew said.
The school board has been discussing building a track around the Baldwin High School soccer field for a couple months. Drew came to the meeting to talk to the board about the possibilities and the cost.
Drew said it's very practical for his men to work with the district while they are still in Baldwin City.
"It's very feasible because our equipment is here in Baldwin City," Drew said. "We are kind of in the middle phase at Baker, so we could have guys over here laser grading at the high school."
Supt. James White agreed, saying the feasibility is one reason for the discussion.
"That's one of the things he has taken into consideration," White said. "If they have their equipment already here, then it would not be as costly to mobilize. That could be a significant cost savings."
After taking a trip to the BHS soccer field, Drew said it would be possible for his company to build an eight-lane track and fix up the soccer field with irrigation, drainage and a better playing surface for approximately $400,000.
The track surface would not be the quality for meets, but would be suitable for practice and physical eduation. The surface could also be upgraded in a couple years to hold meets.
"The track would be good for P.E.," Drew said. "You would not want to have track meets on it, but it would be good for walking on for the community and for P.E."
Drew also said the cost for the grass seed or sod would depend on how soon the field would have to be ready to play on, and could cost an additional $40,000 to $60,000.
White likes the figures Drew gave the board.
"I think he (Drew) has taken into account a great deal of items with regard to what it takes to put a nice track together, including irrigation, drainage, leveling of the field and providing the turf for soccer in the fall," White said. "I was really pleased with the numbers he shared. In the bidding process, those numbers could even go lower. If that's the case, I would like to think we could move forward on the track."
White also said the soccer field and track would have to be completed simultaneously.
"You couldn't do a track without doing the drainage, because you would have to bore under the track or have water running over the track," White said. "That would deteriorate the track much faster. We think the right way to do it is get the soccer field in with the drainage and the track around it all at once. Then we should have a facility that should last for a considerable amount of time."
If the school board approves the plans, Drew said it would only take a few months to complete.
"From start of construction to completion would take about three months, if Mother Nature cooperated," Drew said.
The school board took no action at the meeting, but will continue discussing it at the next meeting on May 8.
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