|GOCO grant awarded for track project|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Fully funding the Phillips County Community Track Project grant request, Great Outdoors Colorado approved $350,000 last week for the project located on the Holyoke School District track and football field grounds.
Great Outdoors Colorado board of directors met Tuesday, June 11 to officially award grants, including the Phillips County track project.
Holyoke School Superintendent Bret Miles announced the good news at the school board meeting that night. He said the district is excited to get the construction process rolling for this long-awaited community project.
Scheduled completion date for the all-weather track and lighting project is Aug. 22 so that the field may be used for the 2013 football games.
However, a celebration/ribbon cutting type of dedication ceremony will not be held until next spring in conjunction with a local track meet.
Miles said he’s also been asked whether the track will be named. He emphasized that right now the focus is on construction.
Track, lighting, restroom renovation, exercise station included in project
When completely finished, the community track project will include an eight-lane post-tensioned concrete base with red all-weather polyurethane bound surface track.
Additionally, the project includes new triple jump, long jump and pole vault runways and pits; a Musco four-pole lighting system for the football field and track; fixtures, partitions and new flooring for restroom renovation; and a 10-piece outdoor exercise station.
Seventy-five percent of the GOCO grant funds ($259,300) will go toward the post-tensioned concrete eight-lane track, $45,000 is designated for the Musco lighting system and $45,700 for the polyurethane bound surface and striping for the track.
Other funding items are the design; performance bond; high jump areas (concrete and surface); pole vault surface; long jump and triple jump lanes; timing system, hurdles/equipment/protective mats; 10-piece outdoor fitness station; restroom fixtures, partitions and new flooring; and buffalo and other native grass seed.
The HHS football field, including goal posts and scoreboard, will not be moved. This is a change from previous proposals and will save much in-kind work on the part of the school district.
The west side of the existing track will be expanded to the east, cutting in to the grass area of the football sidelines. The east side of the existing track will also be expanded to the east, so the visitor bleachers will be moved to the east.
Miles said the high jump pad will be moved from the south to the north to distribute people further across the site for a track meet.
The eight lights that had been used on the field have been removed and will be replaced by four Musco lights that will be placed on the outside of the track. Miles said fewer lights will require less electricity.
The lighting should provide a brighter field and will be focused directly on the field so neighbors in the surrounding area should not see the flooding light as they’ve experienced in the past.
Holyoke School District groundskeeper Dusty McConnell is in the process of removing grass on the west side of the football field sidelines in preparation for widening the track. The football field, including the scoreboard, will remain in place. The west sideline will be narrower, and the visitor bleachers on the east side will be moved to the east as the track is widened in that direction. —Enterprise photo
Miles said there’s a 20-year warranty even on light-bulb replacement for the system. Musco monitors the lighting system from Iowa. The same system was used at the Holyoke Ball Park.
City Superintendent Mark Brown confirmed Musco’s monitoring system, saying they call and say they think light bulb number three on pole number two is out. The city sends someone out to check it and replaces the bulb.
Equipment and concrete for the exercise station will cost $15,262. This station was added to the project to emphasize community recreation but doesn’t have designated grant funds.
The exercise stations will be set up between the visitors’ bleachers and the practice field. Holyoke physical education teachers helped choose the equipment so it can potentially be used for classes.
Total equipment costs are $9,584 and include back extension, chest press/lat pull combo, three-station leg press, pommel horse bench, push-up stand, self-weighted rower, sit-up board-double, strength and stretch bars, uneven bars, bounding bars and balance beam.
Phillips County Recreation District will contribute $9,500 for the exercise station. This additional partner made a big difference in the recent grant application, according to Miles.
Phillips County Administrator Randy Schafer explained Phillips is one of three counties involved in Region I Translator Association, which was established in the 1970s. Phillips County has funded its portion of Region I with mill levy funds to the Recreation District.
When converting from analog translators to digital translators, federal funding came through. As a result, the Recreation District has surplus funds, and the board has decided to consider funding county recreation projects in three areas (west half of the county, east half of the county and the county fairgrounds).
In addition to funding equipment for the Phillips County Track project in Holyoke, the Recreation District also committed to providing funds for the Haxtun Ball Park GOCO grant, but that grant was not received.
Schafer said the county is excited about the track project as it will be great not only for Holyoke but for area communities as well.
Funding in place
With a total project cost of $636,952, Miles said 45 percent of the project costs are in place with cash and in-kind donations.
In addition to the $9,500 from the PC Recreation District, cash donations include $11,717 from a citizens’ track fundraiser in 2008; $5,375, Holyoke Re-1J Foundation; $62,500, Heginbotham Trust; $100,000, Jack Petteys Memorial Foundtion; $7,500, Leland Trust; and $25,000, Holyoke School District.
Making this truly a community project, in-kind contributions are noted from Phillips County, Highline Electric, City of Holyoke and Holyoke School District.
HEA in-kind contributions amount to $60,000 for removing existing light poles, setting the new poles and running electricity to the poles.
Phillips County rented two dump trucks and a front-end loader to pull the track curb and waived the fee for hauling the concrete to the landfill.
Brown and Jeff Deselms from the city will help assemble and set the light poles, as they built the same type of poles at the ball field.
Holyoke grounds personnel will be spending considerable hours to make the project happen.
Holyoke School District will set its track meet dates first each year, then will open the track to other school districts.
Athletic director Sandra Rahe said at Tuesday’s board meeting that Fleming is already looking at track use in 2014, and Haxtun and Sedgwick County are also interested. She said she’s suggested that Holyoke’s entrance fee to the meets on this track be waived.
In 2014, Holyoke plans to host a junior high meet and a high school meet. It’s also Holyoke’s turn to host the league HS meet next May.
Miles said the all-weather track companies say that tracks wear out from UV rays, water and ice—not from running on them. So the more the track can be used, the better, Miles believes.
Miles is excited about this project from an economic development standpoint as well, considering the potential for bringing people to town.
Miles and Schafer will teleconference with GOCO this week to clarify the accounting and reporting process for the grant. The school district will pay the bills and keep all the records. As the actual grant recipient, the county will turn over the final submission of paperwork to GOCO.
In late May, Phillips County received word that the GOCO grant application for the Phillips County Track Project was a recommended project and was ranked second highest of those requested.
While the final approval was not scheduled until June 11, Miles said the school district chose to go ahead and remove the curbs and lights in order to maintain a timeline for having the project complete by the end of August.
He said if the grant fell through, the school district would have funded the lights and curb costs. He’s pleased the grant approval moved forward so that didn’t become an issue. And having that done helped the timeline immensely, he added.
Concrete from the HHS track is broken up and has been hauled to the landfill in preparation for the new track which is expected to be in place by late August. —Enterprise photo
Staking and surveying were completed Wednesday, June 12 after funding was officially approved June 11, and the project is moving forward daily.
Hoping to have the project finished the end of August for football season, Miles said he knows that in this agricultural community he recognizes that they will welcome rain even if it does delay the project.
They’ve looked at a contingency plan in case completion is delayed. Communication has been made with Perkins County to move the football game with the Plainsmen to Grant, Neb. rather than Holyoke if necessary.
Project in the works for some time
Due to the condition of the HHS track, the last track meet hosted in Holyoke was a junior high meet in 1989.
In 2000, the community organized a track committee to contribute funds to the district’s track account for building an all-weather track for the community.
However, in 2006, the school district was forced to use its track fund to install a new boiler system in the JR/SR high school, exhausting the money set aside for a track.
In 2010, the Re-1J Education Foundation was re-established and made the track a targeted project. The original track committee and other foundations quickly deposited over $90,000.
In partnership with Phillips County, the district submitted a GOCO grant in both the March and August 2012 grant cycles. Neither was successful, but the scores improved each time, and the project missed funding by just one this past fall.
Additional partners were sought for the 2013 grant cycle to strengthen the project for another try at GOCO funding.
Project enthusiasts are excited about the benefits to the community as the Phillips County Track Project moves forward with GOCO funding.
Holyoke Enterprise June 20, 2013