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Upgrades to track underway at Lanesville

Upgrades to track underway at Lanesville
Upgrades to track underway at Lanesville
Taking off for a practice run, members of the Lanesville track and field team run on a gravel surface while the resurfacing project at the facility awaits completion. An addition of elevated bleachers will be convenient for spectators of soccer matches and track meets. Photo by Brian Smith

Weather has slowed the resurfacing process, but improvements to the track and field facility at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School, which also serves the budding soccer program, are nearing completion.
The previous asphalt track that circled the soccer field had seen better days and was grounded out in the fall. Plans were to pour the new asphalt surface last November, but Mother Nature disrupted those plans.
‘The original intention was putting the asphalt down in November then the rubber on as soon as it warmed up,’ Mark Lambertus, the school’s athletic director, said. ‘The cold November shut the asphalt plants down, so we couldn’t get it done in the time frame we wanted.’
Carrying on, the wet snow and rain of the last month will have to dry out some before trying again.
‘We’re looking to asphalt the second or third week of April, depending on weather,’ Lambertus said. ‘In the first part of June, they’ll put down the rubber core surface. Then we’ll put the striping on and be good to go, hopefully, in July.’
Results will be a six-lane track, the same width as before. The high-jump approach has been redone along with a complete rebuild of the long-jump area. Improvements to the discus and shot put also have been addressed.
‘When I first came back three years ago, there were a few things on my mind I wanted to get done. I knew the track was one of them,’ Lambertus said. ‘I feel very lucky the Harrison County Community Foundation was able to help us out. They are paying for half of it. We wrote a grant, and the school board found some matching funds to make it work.’
Tennis Technology, based out of Louisville, is handling the construction and has been very hands-on, according to Lambertus.
One of the biggest issues with the old track was cracks; some were four inches wide.
‘They were all over it,’ Lambertus said. ‘I remember last year, I went around the track and used about five gallons of weed killer on weeds growing out of the cracks itself. It was bad and dangerous.’
Unfortunately for the current track and field season, the team will have to train on compact gravel until the asphalt is down.
‘They can run on it,’ Lambertus said. ‘It’s probably not conducive to sprinting or hurdling, but it’s a problem we’ll have to deal with this year. I think the kids all know the inconvenience of this year will be worth it in the long run. We’d like to have it done for this season, but we can’t control the weather.’
There are other features as well with the upcoming new surface, including a five-foot wide concrete apron around the circumference of the track. Lambertus said there were three main reasons for the feature: 1. to help with the maintenance and keeping the track clean, 2. to provide a walking area for spectators who attend soccer or track meets to circle the grounds and 3. to keep hurdles off the infield.
‘There is a gap to where the hurdles can slide under the fence,’ Lambertus said. ‘It keeps hurdles from being mishandled in the infield or worry about them accidentally getting mowed.’
The addition of an apron came from Borden and Silver Creek schools, which have similar designs. Theirs were added to prevent track deterioration on the outside of the running surface.
With a new track, Lambertus said the track and field program will be able to host dual and triple meets next season. Access for the community will be readily available as well.
‘The one thing we have done on the west end is leave open a pedestrian gate that will never be locked,’ Lambertus said. ‘People can go in any time they want to. The other entrances will be locked at times, but the pedestrian gate will allow people through but won’t allow wheeled vehicles on it. We don’t want bikes and other things on the new surface.’
Lambertus added that the track has always been used by the community, with people usually walking, running or training during weekends.
‘It really is a community track,’ he said.
Soccer may be relatively new to the Lanesville community, but its popularity has taken off in recent years. Twenty-eight athletes played for the high school program last year. They competed against boys teams’ although the Lanesville team is co-ed.
A sprinkler system was added, along with seeding, last year, making the playing surface even better.
With the grant from the HCCF, permanent bleachers have been added to the complex. Set up on a riser and able to hold nearly 200 fans, there will be view from midfield of soccer matches. During track meets, it won’t be hard to see all the way around the quarter-mile lanes.
‘The elevation looks really nice,’ Lambertus said. ‘Soccer has been a really big hit here. It’s neat because people like to pull up in their cars or truck and watch soccer.’
In the fall, boys can play tennis or run cross country for the Eagles while girls also can run cross country with the option of playing volleyball. The addition of soccer has sparked the interest of athletes within the halls of the school who didn’t previously participate in a fall sport.
‘It really surprised me how much it has taken off here,’ Lambertus said. ‘Our coach, Scott Rogers, has done a great job building up the program. We’ve played really well and had success. We’ve competed with Providence in the sectional the last couple of years.’
Running along Little Indian Creek in Lanesville, the town has a unique set up, opening the community to a variety of recreational sports options.
It all begins with the track and soccer complex then, heading east, five tennis courts are alongside the Ed Jaegers Memorial Field, host of the Lanesville baseball program. The baseball field has seen numerous upgrades in recent years to its infield surface, press box and bullpen areas. Next to the field is two full-court basketball playing surfaces, recently resurfaced before winding through Walter Q. Gresham Park and ending at the Lanesville Heritage Grounds.
‘It’s unique to Lanesville that you can start at the school and go east for a mile and it’s all recreation,’ Lambertus said. ‘How many towns and rural communities like this have this much recreation? It’s one of the more important things to Lanesville.’
Part of the grant also covers resealing cracks that have recently appeared on the tennis courts. Also open to the community, the courts serve the girls’ tennis team in the spring and the boys’ in the fall.
In a separate grant obtained from the HCCF, the Lanesville Youth League has nearly completed a multi-use building at the baseball and softball fields. One diamond, Schickel Field, hosts the Lanesville High School softball program. Winners of multiple sectional and regional titles, the Eagles often host the Class 1A sectional each year, including in 2015.
‘It’s for the high school program to use and the Lanesville Youth League,’ Lambertus said. ‘It’ll have a locker room for a changing area, rest rooms, concession, storage and a press box with heat and air conditioning. It’ll help us with hosting sectional because many of those amenities will be closer access for spectators.’
Due to the fields being in a flood plain, permits and clearances to build the facility took some time to obtain. Constructed by Nick Romeo Builders, the building should be ready for use when the high school softball season begins in April.
‘The Harrison County Community Foundation, without them, there is no track rebuild,’ Lambertus said. ‘They support a lot of projects. They’ve given us a grant to improve the baseball facility that we’ll get busy on in the summer. Without these grants, the community doesn’t benefit.’