• 43°

BHS track in line for new surface

Brookhaven High School’s R.L. Therrell Track is definitely notthe path less traveled.

That’s why it needs repair.

The 400-metere oval that loops around King Field has beenapproved for resurfacing by the Brookhaven School Board, which aimsto give school track teams and exercise enthusiasts from thegeneral public a state-of-the-art surface on which to improve laptimes and cardio. With the current surface falling further intodisrepair, board members voted earlier this week to beginadvertising for bids on the project in the hopes it can becompleted before track season begins in March.

“If it’s only the surface layer that has to be replaced, we mayhave it done before track season,” said Superintendent Lea Barrett.”If we have to go all the way down to the bed of the track, we mayhave to do it after graduation.”

BHS Athletic Director Tucker Peavey said school officials havedecided to install a polyurethane surface on the track’s asphaltbase after researching the material with Clinton and Pearl highschools, which use the material on their tracks. The softpolyurethane surface makes for lessened impact when running, easingthe stress on runners’ joints, and should prove to be more durablethan the rubber and latex surface currently on the track.

“Our problem is the sealing hasn’t held like it should,” Peaveysaid. “We’re wanting to get the best thing we can get – what willlast the longest.”

R. L. Therrell Track was last resurfaced in 2004, when theschool spent around $100,000 to install the rubber and latex layersand other features for track and field events.

The track was in such bad shape then that BHS was unable to hosttrack meets. All six lanes of the track were coated in thematerial, also designed for softer running, but the latex coatingbegan breaking almost immediately.

Now, the track is dotted with shallow potholes and long sectionsof the rubber have been scraped away, revealing a hard base. Crackshave also begun snaking through the surface.

Assistant Superintendent James Tillman said the company thathandled the project folded soon afterward, and BHS was stuck with ashoddy track surface. Five years later, he’s estimating another$80,000 to bring the track back up to speed.

“We’re going to get our specs pretty well designed, and thatwill take into account the walking and running preferences – what’sthe best we can afford,” Tillman said.

Approximately 70 high school and junior high boys and girls needR. L. Therrell Track for athletics, but there are also a handful ofBrookhavenites who exercise there. The track is accessible to thepublic through a turnstile on the stadium’s west side and availableas long as no school activities are ongoing.

Jerrel Quinn, 56, has been keeping up his health on the trackfor around 15 years. He said he prefers the measured pace of thecompetition track over the wandering walking track at City Park orthe hilly walk around Exchange Club Park.

“It’s just level, convenient,” Quinn said during an afternoonwalk Wednesday. “This is smooth, and you know it’s going to be thesame every day.”

Quinn admitted the deteriorated state of the track isn’t much ofan obstacle for walkers, but he can see how its inconsistency wouldaffect competition events. The veteran track user said the rubbersurface installed in 2004 started to crack the next year.