The declining state of Girard High School’s old 400-meter running track made track coach Matt Logue uncomfortable around fellow coaches at the annual Girard Invitational.

The declining state of Girard High School’s old 400-meter running track made track coach Matt Logue uncomfortable around fellow coaches at the annual Girard Invitational.

Discussing the new $515,000 track now being laid, Logue said, “We have a big invitational and we’ve been apologizing to schools.

“We bring in large schools that could go to any track they want and we’ve felt bad that our track was in bad shape.”

Logue says the new one will have a positive impact on Girard athletics, especially because a brand new surface may create a bigger Girard Invitational. “It’s good for our kids to have a competitive home meet,” he said.

“When we run at home, it helps our kids to have good performances. It sets us up for league, regional and state competition. We like our invitational to be good.”

Girard USD 248 could have the new track finished by late November at Frank Jameson Field. Workers finished the top layer of asphalt just one hour before kick-off of the Chanute-Girard football game Thursday night, and now they must wait at least three weeks before applying the final rubber surface.

Weather will be the determining factor. When applying the rubber, which takes 4-6 days, temperatures cannot fall below freezing, said Superintendent Gary Snawder. If temperatures stay above freezing in three weeks, Girard will have its new track. If not, construction might not be finished until March, the beginning of track and field season.

Snawder recalled past efforts to maintain the quality of the track, which reached disrepair after nearly 30 years of use.

“We’ve been considering repairing it off-and-on for 8-10 years,” Snawder said. “The last couple years, as we’ve patched the track to try and make it safe, we knew we had to do something else. In the spring, we started talking about the new track.”

Snawder says the seven-member Girard Board of Education unanimously approved the job at an expense of $515,000 from the capital outlay fund.

“That’s money we generate off our local tax base funds that can’t be spent on projects other than capital improvement,” he said. “It could be school buses, buildings and other facilities.”

Atlas, an Oregon-based company specializing in surfacing projects, placed the winning bid with its Wichita branch to do the work. Sub-contractor Mission Construction of St. Paul laid the concrete.

The district released an information sheet in September providing the track’s context and a general timeframe for when the project would be completed, as well as stating the concerns of USD 248.

“The biggest concern our board expressed was safety,” Snawder said. “Everybody involved has been on top of the safety issue. We’ve been trying to get it done and keep it safe for the student-athletes on the field.”

Snawder complimented the workers for their hard work and conscientiousness.

“It has been a success,” he said. “The general contractor from Atlas said he wished all his jobs went as well as this one. I’ve been pleased with the timeline, the safety and the quality.”