New track to go in at Memorial Stadium

After two decades of relay races, the track at Bremerton Memorial Stadium will be replaced.

Originally installed during the 1986-87 school year and resurfaced in 1995, the track has eclipsed its life expectancy and is being replaced as part of a $500,000 project, stemming from a Bremerton School District (BSD) bond passed in 2005 that also included funding for the recently completed classroom wing at Mountain View Middle School.

The project is set to begin June 22, with the new surface going in sometime after July 15.

“Basically, we’re reaching the life end so we’ve got to do something,” said Ron Carpenter, the district’s maintenance supervisor.

A new drainage system will be installed along with a new sprayed-rubber surface, which Carpenter said will allow water to flow off the track rather than into and, eventually, under the track, adding “about an extra five years” to its life expectancy.

The new drainage system, comprised of two “slot drains,” will run parallel to the inside edge of the track and the adjacent football/soccer field, running end zone to end zone on each side. Currently, there are four smaller drains on each side of the field.

“We’ve had some drainage problems with the old surface,” Carpenter said. “We’ve been patching it to keep it operational for about the past five or six years.”

Carpenter said the new track should last between 10 and 15 years depending on “how it’s used.” The current track has been open to the public around the clock, but will be closed June 22 until the project is completed Sept. 1. Although Bremerton High School athletic director George Duarte said he’d like to see it completed by mid-August, in time for preseason football practice.

The completion date will hinge, in part, on weather.

“If there’s any moisture, you’ve got to wait,” Carpenter said. “It’s a real aggressive schedule to get that done.”

The field itself will remain open until July 15 for Kitsap Pumas home soccer games, Carpenter said, but will be shut down entirely once the Pumas’ season ends. He apologized for any inconveniences the closure may cause, saying signs will be posted and the locks will be changed.

“Sometimes you have to go through the inconveniences to get the better product,” Carpenter said. “We want people to know it’s happening and what’s going on. This is all a good deal.”

Duarte said the Bremerton Relays as well as the Kitsap County Invitational — major high school track and field events typically held at Memorial Stadium — were hosted at other sites this year because the track was subpar. With a new track, however, those events may return.

“It’s going to be fantastic, it’s going to be topnotch,” Duarte said. “We’re excited. It’s going to be a great surface for the athletes.”

The initial budget for the project was set at $500,000, but the final cost is $450,695, according to Wayne Lindberg, director of finance and operations. The extra money, among others, is going toward the installation of removable goalposts on the Memorial Stadium field, with the old non-removable posts, which were installed in the mid-1990s, going to another district location, probably the junior high or middle school.

Gig Harbor-based Henderson Partners LLC is contracted to do the drainage work, as well as some concrete work, and the track itself will be installed by a handful of subcontractors, according to Carpenter, who also said it should take between two and four weeks to lay the new track surface.

Additionally, Carpenter said the stairs behind the south end zone will be reconfigured to allow the shot put event to be moved to the southwest corner of the stadium.

The new track, which will have a red surface as opposed to the current blacktop, will be the same width as the old track — eight lanes wide.

“I think this stadium is a very nice venue for any kind of sporting event,” Carpenter said. “It’s just a really nice venue.”

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