Track resurfacing project underway at Lovell High School

David Peck

Pete Baxendale is a busy guy. The owner and operator of Midway Construction and Dirt Work has three major projects in the works this summer, starting with a project to resurface the track at Lovell High School.

Midway is the general contractor on the track project, and work started Monday afternoon after Baxendale’s crew dodged a rainstorm in the morning.

Baxendale said the project involves removing two inches of the track material, then laying down an inch and a half of new asphalt and applying a new synthetic track surface.

Quality Asphalt of Cody will mill the old asphalt and apply the new, Baxendale said, and Hellas Construction of Texas will apply the top surface.

On Monday, Midway was excavating the interior border of the track to prepare for a mow strip, a strip of concrete that will separate the grass of the football field from the track, which Baxendale said will prevent grass from growing into the asphalt and allow the school maintenance crew to better trim the edge of the grass.

“It will basically be an eight-inch concrete curb,” Baxendale said. “It’ll give it a clean edge. It was difficult to trim and keep clean.”

Midway has been using a narrow bucket on the digger to excavate the mow strip ring, then will form up and pour concrete. Baxendale was pleased to discover that the relatively new sprinkler system installed a few years ago features pivoting sprinkler heads that can swing aside, then be returned, so Midway won’t have to cut and shorten each sprinkler pipe.

The project includes extending the sidewalk on the north side of the track and football field east to the parking lot, providing better handicapped accessibility to the facilities, along with a new surface for the triple jump, long jump and pole vault runways, using the same method and material as the track resurfacing.

Baxendale said the new track and runway surface will be epiQ Tracks V300, which he said is a rubberized synthetic surface that will be much softer to run on. He said the track surface will be blue, possibly with black exchange zones, if that doesn’t add to the cost.

“It’s a far better product,” he said. “It’s going to be a nice surface to run on.”

Meanwhile, Midway is planning for the project to build a new pilot’s lounge at North Big Horn County Airport and will begin the final phase of the Armory Park project, which will include a new walking path around the perimeter of the park (starting in two weeks), a refurbished softball field, an amphitheater, lights for the walking path and some light fixtures on the back side of the softball light poles.

District views

District Two superintendent Doug Hazen said he wants the public to understand that, contrary to rumors, the district is not building an eight-lane track, nor building a new football stadium and track with a north-south configuration.

Hazen said the district and school board has heard the complaints that the football field “runs the wrong way” and that the school can’t host a regional track meet without an eight-lane track. He said the parking lot needs attention, as well.

Thus, the district did look into all three of the issues and the possibility of a new stadium, track and parking lot, but the price is “astronomical,” Hazen said, adding, “We couldn’t feasibly do it. It would cost multi-millions of dollars.” He said the district is working with the School Facilities Commission to perhaps get the commission to pay for the parking lot work.

Hazen said the district performed some core drilling at the current site of the football field and track, and the base is sound, so that doesn’t lend itself to a relocation. “There’s no need to tear it all up,” he said.

He also noted that the mow strip being placed with the track resurfacing project will provide longevity for the track.

Other capital projects this summer are the second half of the HVAC project at Lovell Middle School, new carpet and painting in middle school classrooms, new carpet in certain areas of the elementary school, audio/video upgrades for the high school multipurpose room, middle school commons and middle school gym, new concrete for the front entrance to the middle school and changes associated with changing from Mustangs to Bulldogs as a mascot at the middle school.