For two seasons at Elizabeth High School, starter pistols have been silenced, grandstands have been empty, and no runners have broken the tape at the finish line. The idleness at the school’s track is not for want of good athletes, fans or …
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For two seasons at Elizabeth High School, starter pistols have been silenced, grandstands have been empty, and no runners have broken the tape at the finish line. The idleness at the school’s track is not for want of good athletes, fans or officials; it is due to the condition of the track, which has deteriorated to the point where the facility can no longer be used for meets.
According to Clay Terry, leader of the EHS Track and Field Resurfacing Task Force, the damage to the track’s surface has reached a point where the school has not only shut down local meets but also made it off limits to individual runners and deemed it unsuitable for hosting community events.
“It’s not just a school problem,” Terry said. “It really has impacted the community’s use of the track.”
The EHS track was installed when the school was constructed in 2000. Typically, running tracks require a new surface every five to seven years, but limited resources have forced the district to delay repairs since its installation, which puts the EHS track at nearly three times its useful life.
According to the Elizabeth School District, the damage to the track has become more extensive than just surface wear. Cracks have developed, allowing water to penetrate into the underlying pavement, which further damages the infrastructure beneath with each cycle of freezing and thawing. The pole vaulting and jump runways also need to be repositioned to comply with new minimum safety standards established by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
In June 2014, the EHS Track and Field Booster Club created the Track and Field Resurfacing Task Force with the original goal of raising $100,000 by July 1, 2015, and completing repairs before the start of the 2015-2016 school year.
With that deadline passed, the group has managed to raise around $25,000 and secure a promise from the Elizabeth School District for a $20,000 match to the first $65,000 of donations. The $85,000 would be enough to resurface the track, but not enough to cover the repositioning of the pole vault and long jump runways.
On Aug. 15, EHS Track and Field Task Force will continue its fundraising efforts, sponsoring two events, the Cardinal Clay Shooting Challenge and Elizabeth’s fourth annual 5K run and 1.5-mile walk.
The Cardinal Clay Challenge at the Quail Run Sporting Club in Kiowa is open to teams and individual shooters, with a choice of either morning or afternoon sessions. Registration for the challenge will be first come, first served, and will remain open until the start of the event at 9 a.m. Aug. 15. Shooters can find more information at http://bit.ly/1DD3Oye and volunteers may sign up at http://vols.pt/UeEUSq.
The other event, a 5K run and 1.5-mile walk, will be held at Casey Jones Park and begins at 8 a.m. Runners and walkers can register at https://runsignup.com/Race/CO/Elizabeth/4thelizabeth5k through Aug. 13.
The Cardinal Clay Shooting Challenge and 5K are part of a series of events held over the past year and a half in support of the project. Last May the Citizens Impact Committee held a golf tournament at Spring Valley Ranch. Other efforts include Pizza Day for Kids at Buzzards, and the sale of Premium Booklet Coupon Books and Apps.
Terry and his task force plan to continue fundraising until their goal is reached, but given the current response to their efforts and the present condition of the track, it is likely that the stands will remain silent for a third season and possibly longer.
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