Volunteers begin fundraising project to update school track, field

A group of community members and coaches set out several years ago to repair the Killdeer Public School’s field and track.

A committee former to repair the existing Cowboys field and athletic complex plans to completely rebuild the Cowboys grandstand and bleachers. (Photo by BRYCE MARTIN/Herald)
A committee former to repair the existing Cowboys field and athletic complex plans to completely rebuild the Cowboys grandstand and bleachers. (Photo by BRYCE MARTIN/Herald)
The current outdoor athletic facilities at Killdeer Public School are in need of improvements. (Photo by BRYCE MARTIN/Herald)
The current outdoor athletic facilities at Killdeer Public School are in need of improvements. (Photo by BRYCE MARTIN/Herald)

By BRYCE MARTIN

Herald Editor

Posted March 29, 2013 

KILLDEER — A group of community members and coaches set out several years ago to repair the Killdeer Public School’s field and track. In the recent weeks, they’ve taken action.

The Cowboy Sports Complex Committee has planned drastic improvements to extensively improve the existing track and field, beginning fundraising efforts after the committee’s meeting March 19.

The goal is to raise about $1.7 million.

Major improvements to the complex include replacing the grass field with a synthetic turf field, reconstructing a six-lane track and event areas, improving and upgrading the field lighting and rebuilding the grandstand and concession area.

Killdeer Public School Superintendent Gary Wilz, who volunteers on the committee, said he believes the project is an achievable goal.

“If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t keep moving forward,” Wilz said of the committee.

A fund now has been established and the committee is able to accept donations, looking for companies and individuals that can help finance the renovations.

The current football field, which costs an average of $25,000 per year for irrigation, fuel, fertilizer and labor, was built on sandstone. That foundation lies six to 24 inches below the topsoil, presenting difficulty in growing grass and avoiding bare spots on the field. Possible injuries could occur as a result.

Last spring, it was attempted to level portions of the field and reseed grass. For various reasons, the grass did not take and there are bare areas of the field with stones showing through.

Due to energy growth, the football practice area was lost in 2011, compounding the damage to the field since the practice of the school’s many teams does not provide a chance for the grass to regenerate.

Killdeer Public School’s current track is six lanes, with sharp curves and long straight-aways. The track configuration creates narrow sidelines on the football field, which are out of compliance. The track was never converted to 400 meters, which makes the track’s start and handoff lanes different compared with any other track on which Killdeer teams compete.

The track was resurfaced in 1992, at which time the track’s lifespan was estimated at eight years. The track surpassed estimates, enabling KPS to host track meets until 2006.

Lack of adequate drainage, however, allowed water to sit on the track, causing its synthetic surface to separate and deteriorate. Currently, the track is used for practice in safe areas only.

Due to liability issues, the track soon may no longer be usable.

The current grandstand, built in 1980, was constructed from reused cement blocks. It’s now nearing the end of its life as leaking, crumbling and deterioration is prevalent. It also does not meet the criteria set forth by the American Disabilities Act for handicap accessibility.

It is the determination of the committee to move forward with the rebuilding of the track and field at its current site, with demolition and replacement of the current facilities.

Phase I of the project focuses on the football field and track. Phase II is aimed at the grandstand and concessions. The initial goal is to complete the track and field as quickly as possible.

Contact Bryce Martin at bmartin@countrymedia.net.


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