7 years later, schools could spend hundreds of thousands to replace track
Doesn’t have ‘leg to stand on’ in potential lawsuit
By Michelle Stuckey - Dec 15, 2011
After only seven years of use, the track at Hahnville High School has deteriorated to the point of being useless for meets and the School Board has begun discussing plans to replace it.
During last week’s Capital Improvements Committee meeting, board members talked about the possibility of having a new track built next year. A new track could cost the district anywhere from $350,000 to $600,000 depending on what type of track the board chooses to install, according to John Rome, executive director of Physical Plant Services. That estimate does not include any asphalt patching that may be necessary when the old track is removed, which could range in price from $20,000 to $100,000.
Members of the board and administration plan to travel to other track sites to investigate what the best option will be for the future of the track at HHS. They hope to approve a new track early next year to be completed in time for the 2013 track and field season.
"We spent a lot of money on the track and I think the board has to take a much closer look this time before we commit," said board member John Smith.
The current track at Hahnville was put down in 2004 by Mondo USA Inc. with a five-year warranty that ended in 2009.
"In 2009-2010, we noticed an accelerated deterioration," Rome said. "This year it was not suitable for meets."
Large areas of the HHS track resemble dry rot and pieces flake off easily when walked on, especially at the starting line and the area where football players run onto the field. Rome said that the track’s deterioration could be caused by many factors, including faulty construction or environmental stress.
"I think the track deteriorated long before it should have," said School Board member Sonny Savoie during a committee meeting in September.
Rome said that Mondo did try to repair parts of the track, but that attempts were unsuccessful.
The district began seeking a legal opinion in September on how to proceed, but came back to the board this month out of ideas.
Rome said that the opinion was that the district "doesn’t have a leg to stand on" in a lawsuit against Mondo. The warranty is over and he said Mondo is unwilling to negotiate further.
Mondo also built the track at Destrehan High in 2004, but Destrehan’s track is holding up much better with only slight fading and no structural damage.
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