A horror no more

"The deathtrap of a track at South Kitsap High School will soon be nothing but a pile of rubble.The South Kitsap School District accepted a $251,555 bid from Harlow Construction Company out of Gig Harbor to replace the existing track with a new polyurethane surface.The school board approved the school district to throw out a bid in March, and watched two companies joust for the bid before Harlow won out.The hiring of Harlow was made official at the school board meeting Monday.Construction is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, though weather conditions or unforeseeable work could delay the opening of the track.The current track quickly deteriorated over the last two years, and was finally condemned by the school district last year.The poorly conditioned track forced the SK boys and girls track and field team to compete at all away meets.Though the track was still used for physical education classes, community events, and high school practices, a new track will decrease the risk of injuries.Mike Riley, facilities manager of buildings and grounds, said the community got its monies worth with the old track.We went way beyond the life expectancy of that track, Riley said. We truly did.The school district would have replaced the track sooner but the multi-levy failures put a freeze on any upgrades.Jim Huff, president of the school board, said approving a new track was one of the top priorities.It was pretty high because it essentially was condemned, Huff said. What's nice about (the new track) is it will cost less than what we budgeted for.The estimate given to the school district was $350,000, but Harlow accepted to do the job for $100,000 less than the original estimate.Riley said construction usually starts in the late spring or early summer. The track market is good because there's not a lot of tracks being built right now, Riley said. We fell in between the timelines.Riley said the old track will be scraped away down to the asphalt. Asphalt depressions will be repaired. The remainder of the track will be rubberized down to the base with a polyurethane surface on top.Ed Santos, the cross country and track and field coach at SK, said words can't describe how happy he is about the approval of a new track.I'm overwhelmingly excited, Santos said. I'm glad it's going to happen. This affects me in many ways. I use it as a community member and my son is a member of the SK Jaguars Club. Now we won't have to drive to Bremerton for meets.On a high school level, Santos said the new track will improve the health of his runners, who have suffered excessive lower back problems and shin splints.Polyurethane is the surface everyone uses, Santos said. It gives cushion and durability, which is needed since it will be used by so many groups. It will definitely be easier to train on.After an absence of home meets last year, Santos said the school should be back to hosting five or six dual meets and he hopes to bring back the SK Invitational too. "

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