A project at least three years in the making was completed earlier this month; a commitment the New Albany School District has made to its track program.
The school board has discussed resurfacing the track at Kitchens’ Field for several years, but with budget cuts in education for the state, the money was not there to do the job the right way. After putting aside money for the project, plans moved forward at the end of the last school year, and the end result is the new maroon surface, a quality track the school is proud to showcase.
“Over time, many cracks had developed, and we weren’t sure if they were surface cracks or what was underneath the track,” New Albany Interim Superintendent Jackie Ford said. “Two years ago during board listening meetings with the community, questions came up about the track, and our answer then was that we couldn’t afford it. We started doing a lot of research and price comparison from what other schools have done recently. We started saving some money and putting it aside each year, and we got to the point where we were ready to make the commitment to track or just forget it all together.”
The first step was figuring out how much damage was done to the old track. Ford said the track was last resurfaced around 1994, and after milling an area, the cracks were only on the surface and did not reach the foundation. After pinpointing the problem, the school board found who would work on the new track. Working on the construction was Magnolia State School Products out of Columbus, which served as the general contractor. Asphalt was provided the Roger’s Group in New Albany, and Fisher Track handled the track’s surface.
“We decided to put the whole package together,” Ford said. “We bid it out and wanted one general contractor, and they worked with the asphalt company, and so on.”
The project started after Memorial Day and was scheduled to be finished by July 20. Because of weather and other issues outside of anyone’s control, the track was finished just in time for New Albany’s first football game against Ripley.
As for the old track, the Roger’s Group gave the school district the pieces, which were recycled and used to fill pot holes and fix the parking lot of the alternative school. Now at the football field is the new maroon track, and the district hopes to see a growth in the track program and also hope to host the district track meet in coming years. According to Ford, having the track in maroon is not only for school pride purposes.
“The maroon will also help us tell where we have new cracks, and it we can treat it quicker,” he said. “That’s an advantage of having a colored track. On the regular tracks, you can’t see it as well.”
Along with the new track are updates to the buildings around Kitchens’ Field. Each building now has a new maroon trim, painted by Mike Stepp, and the home and visiting pressboxes have New Albany Bulldogs painted on them, done by Jay Mills of Big Sky Signs. The additions have made Kitchens’ Field a great place to be at on Friday nights for football and for future events held at the stadium.
“It looks professional, and it is,” Ford said. “We did things the right way this time.”