Madison-Plains’ outdoor track and K-6 playground need attention

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
The all-weather track at Madison-Plains Local Schools has seen better days. Parts of the rubberized surface are coming up.

(Posted April 25, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Madison-Plains leaders are working on a long-term plan for the school district’s facilities and grounds, but a couple of items require more immediate attention.

At the April 19 school board meeting, Superintendent Chad Eisler talked about the outdoor track and the playground that serves grades K-6.

Parts of the track’s rubberized surface are coming up in places, and the track as a whole is weathered, he said. The athletic department uses it for track practices but does not use it for meets due to its condition and the fact that at six lanes, it is not a regulation track. Regulation tracks have eight lanes.

The district is looking into repairing or replacing the track, however they are finding it difficult to get contractors out to provide estimates. Many companies are booked with jobs through the next two years, Eisler said.

So far, one contractor has provided a verbal estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million to replace the track. The company requires topographical and geographical surveys before they put a formal quote into writing. The surveys will cost approximately $30,000.

“So, it’s an expensive proposition, no doubt,” Eisler said.

The contractor expressed concern about the condition of the asphalt under the rubberized surface. There also is a question as to whether the track measures 400 meters. The rough estimate includes replacing the track and making it eight lanes.

At her last meeting as a school board member, Kelly Cooley, a self-described “track mom,” said the track facilites have needed attention for a long time.

“We’ve short-changed the athletes in the track program over the last 10 years,” she said.

The athletes need better facilities, she continued. With that would come the ability to host meets and, in turn, involve the community in the sport.

As for the K-6 playground, Eisler said the district has had to remove some pieces of aging equipment for safety reasons.

A company from Cleveland that specializes in playgrounds has been out to assess the current conditions and needs. The district is exploring funding options for the project, Eisler said, including grants and private donations.

“Things are starting to fall apart,” he added, referring to facilities and equipment throughout the district. “We’ve done our best to be good stewards, but part of being a good steward is knowing when you need to make the investment, and the time is here.”

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