Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:01 PM on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Track construction races weather for big finish

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photographer: McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Work is underway on construction of a new track for Homer High School. Safety concerns caused by deteriorating conditions of the track caused it to be closed to all users by the Kenai Peninsula Borough in October.

Finally, Homer High School's track is a thing of the past. Last week, efforts got underway to strip the crumbling, crack- and hole-riddled asphalt surface and make way for a new and improved track. Provided the weather cooperates and doesn't dump too much rain on the southern peninsula, Homer High School's new track will be ready for use shortly after the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

"The notice to proceed was issued as of July 2. ... We have a timeline that, according to my time schedule, if all goes along properly, will be done by Sept. 9," said Kevin Lyon, capital project director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The track is being built by Prosser-Dagg Construction Company of Palmer, with Rolf Dagg the project manager. It is the first time the company has done any work for the borough, but not the first time they've worked on a high school track.

"We're working on the artificial turf and track project at the Palmer High School," said Rolf Dagg, project manager and a partner of the Prosser-Dagg Construction Company.

Work being done on the Homer High track includes demolition of the old track, drainage improvements and a slight widening of the track, which will require some gravel work.

Although improvements to the football field are not included in the track work, the drainage improvements are a step in the right direction.

"We're making sure we're ready for a turf field," said Lyon about possible work in the future.

Also being done with an eye toward turf installation is relocation of the long- and triple-jump areas. They are being moved to the Kachemak Bay side of the track.

A new handicap ramp that meets American Disability Act requirements for 2010 also will be constructed by Prosser-Dagg.

The icing on the cake, so to speak, and the most fair weather-dependent part of the project is installation of a rubberized surface manufactured by Benyon Sports Surfaces which will be installed by Benyon representatives.

"They're a specialty company that will work as one of our subcontractors," said Dagg.

Lyon described the material for the new track surface as "awesome."

"It's a high-quality surface and the most durable, so you don't have to do it again in five years. You can do a touch-up in 10 years and that should last for 20," he said, adding with a laugh, "It meets all the certifications and is the first track on the peninsula to meet the certifications so if you want to run an Olympic event, you can."

A long list of running tracks installed by Benyon and provided on the company's website includes high schools, universities and military bases across the United States. Among them is the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, site of the U.S. Olympic track and field team trials held June 21-July 1.

Design of the new track was done by USKH, a multi-discipline design firm with offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Wasilla, Juneau and several in Washington state.

"We're happy to be working in Homer," said Dagg. "Hopefully the sun will shine."

Lyon also is keeping his eye on the weather.

"The rubber surfacing goes on in August. That's when weather starts playing a part," he said. "That's the only thing I can't control, the weather."

For more about Benyon Sports Surfaces, see www.benyonsports.com.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben. jackinsky@homernews.com.