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Track repairs could run as high as $80,000

Extensive repairs will soon be needed on Cloquet High School’s outdoor track.

At a brief meeting of the Cloquet School Board on Monday night, board members gave administration permission to pursue bids to resurface the track, which was built in the early 1990s but is now showing substantial signs of wear.

“Parts of the track are coming up,” CHS Principal Warren Peterson told the board. “The track can’t be used the way it is now. It’s falling apart and it will have to be taken care of.”

Business Manager Kim Josephson, standing in for Superintendent Ken Scarbrough at the meeting, said that total costs for repairs could run as high as $80,000.

“We want to get bids before we come back to you as board members for a determination on what we should do,” Josephson said.

Peterson told the board that sections of the rubberized portion of the track are separating from the concrete base to which it is ordinarily fastened.

“The stuff is peeling off in clumps,” he said. “You can’t run a meet on it.”

While in some seasons the district could arrange to hold home meets at other tracks, Cloquet is scheduled to host the Lake Superior Conference meet this spring, which brings the problem to the forefront sooner than it otherwise might.

“In the past we’ve set aside $5,000 to $7,000 for maintenance of the track every five to 10 years,” Peterson said. “What has been done is the holes have been patched just like a roadway.”

The track, which was laid down almost 25 years ago, needs to be pulled up and relaid with a new surface.

“It wouldn’t take long, from what we understand,” Peterson said. “There are companies which could do it in three to four days.”

The problem, as has been the case all winter, is with the weather.

The track is still buried in snow along with the rest of Cloquet, and once it melts, Josephson said the weather would need to hold in the 50-degree range for three to four consecutive days for a new surface to be properly laid.

“And not having it be below zero at night would help,” board member Duane Buytaert added. “If we get spring and if we have an outdoor track season, we’ll need to deal with the condition of the track.”

Board member Dave Battaglia noted that the track has had a long and useful life.

“Over 20 years isn’t bad but there is regular maintenance that needs to be done now,” he said.

The board agreed unanimously to allow administration to solicit bids to resurface the track, with proposals expected later this spring.

In other actions, the board voted to approve the 2014-15 school calendar. School will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 3, the Wednesday after Labor Day, with the last day of school scheduled for May 29, 2015, the Friday after Memorial Day.