WEST JEFFERSON-There were grumbles and complaints – this reporter heard them firsthand back in the early 2000s – when Ashe County made the call to put down a rubber track surface at its then brand new high school.
Would a rubberized track surface hold up in a climate where temperatures can fall below zero in winter and sometimes climb above 80 degrees in the summer? Turns out the answer was yes.
Ashe County High School Athletic Director Marc Payne said this week the athletic track ringing the football field will be resurfaced for the first time in its history.
“It’s been striped once before, but this is the first time the track has been repaired and resurfaced,” Payne said. “It’s needed it for a while but now turned out to be an ideal time for this.”
Payne said cracks had developed in portions of the track – blame that on the wild temperature swings Ashe County experiences from season-to-season – that badly needed to be addressed. Combined with the surface wear and the fact that Ashe County High School will host the conference track tournament next spring, Payne said this summer was the ideal time to complete the project.
Payne said the district has turned to Charlotte-based Carolina Courtworks to give the track the much needed TLC he said it needs. The company will pressure wash the surface, repair its cracks, in addition to resurfacing and re-striping the track. Payne said the facility will be closed until the repairs are completed.
He estimates the repairs will cost the district roughly $50,000.
“If you had to go in on a track like ours, take the rubber off and put down new asphalt – so essentially a new track – you’d probably be talking somewhere around $300,000,” Payne said. “So it’ll last you a while as long as you take care of it.”
Payne said the school has long done what it can to protect the surface, like putting down mats that keep football players’ cleats from tearing at the rubber surface and working to make sure the track’s inner layers wear evenly with the rest of the surface, but the temperature swings are its major nemesis.
“You try to be as conscientious as you can, limit access to certain places on the track and put the carpets down, but the issue comes down to the temperature,” Payne said. “It’s what cracks tennis courts and running tracks.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.