Shaker Regional School District closes high school track

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — The Shaker Regional School District is soliciting bids for the complete reconstruction of the high school track, whose surface has been bubbling and delaminating, posing a significant tripping hazard.

Superintendent Michael Tursi said the track has been closed to all use because of life-safety concerns.

The first problems became apparent just three months after the track was resurfaced two summers ago, he said. The rubber surface was bubbling and their first thought was that it was a problem with the adhesive bonding the new surface to the original track, built in 1998. Attempts to patch it only seemed to make it worse, he said.

The district hired Harriman, a civil engineering firm, to analyze the track and make a recommendation to solve the problems. The firm determined that the adhesive was part of the problem, with an inadequate primer on the original surface, but the composition of the new surface also contained latex, which trapped water and led to the delamination.

The district sought legal counsel to determine whether the contractor doing the work could be held accountable, but a third problem, involving drainage, would make a quick resolution difficult, Tursi said.

The track as originally designed did not have the proper slope to carry water away, he found. The grade from the outer to the inner track should be 1.5 inches, but there were flat areas where water would pool, contributing to the delamination, Tursi said.

There were other drainage issues, with culverts under the track sitting on sand, which caused the pipes to rise and fall with the frost, creating breaks in the track surface. Scoping the lines showed that the drainage system itself was fine, but the culverts that are supposed to carry water into the system need to be replaced, he said.

“We could have been in litigation for years without any guarantee that we’d prevail,” he said.

The district looked into its insurance policy, but found it would not cover the repairs.

As a result, the Shaker Regional School Board ordered the track closed to all athletic events and practices, as well as community use, at the beginning of the school year. Many local residents have used the track for walking and running, and the district wanted to be proactive about preventing any injuries.

The School Board plans to tap the district’s unexpended fund balance to pay for the repairs, after getting clearance from…

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