By Dedra Cordle
For years, the student-athletes at West High School have had to make accommodations elsewhere if they wanted to use the running track to train for upcoming sporting events due to the unsafe conditions caused by excessive cracks and the growth of weeds on its surface. At the start of the 2024-25 school year, those student-athletes should only have to travel a few meters away from the school building in order to access a usable track.
Last month, the Columbus City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a facilities management agreement with the Brecksville-based company SCG Fields, LLC to renovate the existing running track at a cost of $675,000.
The renovation project, which is slated to begin this fall, will be limited in scope due to space constraints.
Originally constructed in the late 1930s, the layout of the track has remained unchanged in the ensuing years because the site is landlocked, bordering S. Powell Avenue to the east, Postle Road to the south, an alley and the stadium structure to the west, and the WHS building to the north.
According to CCS officials, the proximity of the existing location to buildings, streets, and other athletic amenities make it particularly challenging to address all of the issues WHS students and staff would like to see changed, such as shortening the track from the current 418 meters to today’s track standards of 400 meters and widening the lanes at turns one and four.
As a result of the limitations, the district has approved the renovation project with no significant alterations to the size and location of the track. Instead, the scope of the renovation project will feature the milling of the track surface, a new asphalt overlay, the installation of a new synthetic surfacing system, base course repairs as needed, and new track striping.
The corresponding high jump and long jump event areas will also be replaced.
Vice-president Christine Vera said she was “excited” to be able to vote on this piece of legislation and to be able to provide “West students with the track and field that they rightfully deserve.”
Board member Dr. Tina Pierce thanked the WHS staff, students, and parents for advocating for the renovation of the track, but also challenged the district to conduct an athletic audit at all of the CCS schools and facilities to see what needs to be renovated, repaired or replaced.