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Track resurfacing project hits snag

By James Grob,

The $250,000 track resurfacing project that was set to begin at Comet Field has reached a high hurdle.

“When we started this project, we were hoping that the asphalt underneath was in relatively good shape,” Charles City Superintendent Mike Fisher told the Charles City School District Board of Directors this week. “Unfortunately, it’s not.”

Director of Operations Jerry Mitchell updated the board on the resurfacing project, which is now going to take much longer than originally thought.

“It’s going to cost us more money, although I don’t know how much yet,” Mitchell said. He said he expected the final bid on the change order to be submitted sometime this week.

The original cost estimate was $250,000 for track resurfacing, which would include grinding the track down, repaving the blacktop, resurfacing and repainting the track. It was hoped the project would be completed by the end of this summer, but Mitchell said he has informed coaches that it will be next summer at the earliest before the track is completed.

“I sure wish we could have done what we initially proposed, but it’s not working out that way,” he said.

Mitchell explained that track boring about 18 months ago found that the original track was made out of a sand asphalt, but more recent boring has shown that the sand asphalt is crumbling and not in very good condition.

“They were worried that if we continued we would destroy all that original asphalt,” Mitchell said.

Work on the track stopped at that time, and Mitchell is now awaiting a price estimate to tear all the layers out and put in a new base and layer of asphalt over that.

In June, the board approved a construction contract and bond for the project. The track resurfacing contractor is Woodruff Construction.

Director Scott Dight said the bids for the new project will likely be at least $200,000 higher than that, since essentially the contract will need to tear out the old track and completely build a new track, and Mitchell agreed that he expected the cost to be somewhere in that range.

In other business on Monday, CCMS Principal Joe Taylor and teacher Ann Prichard gave a short presentation on the need for playground equipment at the middle school.

“This is something that we’ve been planning here since before I was even here,” said Fisher. “Now with some of the ESSER funds (Supplemental Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants) we’ve received, we are able to accelerate this project.”

The board approved the administration to seek and collect bids for the middle school playground project, which Taylor said he expected to cost $100,000 to $130,000.

Mitchell said that the company that sells the equipment will install it as a part of the price.

“We want to make this dual-purpose with our community,” Taylor said, noting how frequently the basketball courts that were put up near the middle school are utilized after school hours by neighborhood kids. “We like to have more stuff like that in our community.”

Taylor said that putting the playground equipment near the new baseball and softball diamonds, so that younger kids could use it while their families attend games, was being considered.

In other business, Mitchell told the board that the district had received a bid for $23,937 from River City Fence for fencing at College Grounds, which the board approved. Mitchell explained that the original project for Comet Field included installation and reuse of the current fencing to be installed at the College Grounds as part of the strategic plan improvements for the practice fields. He said there is a small shortage of fencing at that location and this bid would cover the additional need along Clark Street.

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