The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 12, 2013

Conneaut's track/field complex entering sprint mode

Star Beacon


Staff Writer

CONNEAUT — Contractors creating Conneaut High School’s track/field facility will be making a big dash to the finish line over the next few days.

Lots of work is expected to be accomplished this weekend and early next week on the $680,500 complex, Conneaut Board of Education members learned at Thursday night’s regular meeting. On Friday, crews with Vasco Sports Contractors began installing fence that will surround the eight-lane, 400 meter track and applied grass seed to the large infield within the oval.

The asphalt base of the track is

also ready to accept a rubberized substance that will create a springy, weather-resistant surface, said Kent Houston, Conneaut Area City Schools superintendent. The rubber work could be done this weekend or early next week, he said.

Crews have already built or are prepared to build other components of the complex, including pole vault and discus areas, Houston said. School officials are pleased with the results so far.

“It’s a thing of beauty to see,” Houston said.

School board member Michael Kennedy, who is keeping tabs on the project, agreed. Vasco does only one thing — build track-and-field facilities — and their expertise shows, Kennedy said.

“This is really a professional group of men,” he said.

Work began in earnest this summer with the demolition of the old Eighmy Corporation building at Reig and Maple avenues. The entire complex should be done in a few weeks, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been discussed — if weather allows, Houston said. The facility is taking shape on eight acres of land donated to the school district a few years ago by Gerald and Mary Eighmy. The facility will bear the Eighmy name. Costs of the work comes solely from donations raised by the CARE for Kids Committee, which is dedicated to improving scholastic sports.

With the financial help of the school board, CARE for Kids installed new bleachers and a press box at the CHS football field on the opposite side of the street from the track/field facility. The committee is also financing the construction of a multi-use building at the football field.

The building — which will contain a concession stand, rest rooms and some storage space — was not be opened as expected for Friday night’s Homecoming game.  Some additional electrical work is needed before it can be unveiled, Houston said.

“But we’re very close,” he said.

In other business, the board:

• Learned school administrators have been logging lots of hours serving on committees and preparing reports to meet new government mandates. “We have got amazing administrators who are doing incredible things,” Houston said.

• Approved a five-year forecast that includes tax revenue — as expected — from the privately-owned Lake Erie Correctional Institution and Ohio casinos. Still, spending is on track to exceed revenue in the upcoming year, said Treasurer Lindsey Cotton.

• Authorized Houston to seek bids for snow removal. To save money, the district will hire professional plows to work between January and March and rely on employees to handle snow that falls before or after that period, he said.