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Published: Wednesday, 2/14/2007

Wauseon running track may be replaced


WAUSEON - Wauseon High School's stone running track, which is so much poorer than the all-weather tracks in the area that many teams don't want to compete on it, might soon be replaced by a $250,000 to $300,000 track that is both rubberized and wider.

The school's athletic boosters have organized a 10-member subcommittee that has committed $50,000 - $10,000 a year for five years - and is planning fund-raisers, beginning with a reverse raffle at the Wauseon Elks club on March 31, subcommittee member Keith McMahon told the Wauseon Exempted Village school board Monday.

"People don't want to come here for track meets," Mr. McMahon said.

Last season, Wauseon had one home meet out of a schedule of about 10 meets, Superintendent Marc Robinson said.

In addition to being crushed stone instead of rubber, Wauseon's track accommodates five to six lanes and each lane is narrower than what many tracks allow. The boosters would like an eight-lane track, with each lane being wider. That combination should allow for athletes to achieve faster times than they can get on Wauseon's track.

The track is too close to Glenwood Avenue and the railroad tracks to easily expand it, Mr. Robinson said. So the plan is to build a new track base somewhere near the high school and the planned middle school that is to replace Burr Road Middle School. The boosters would then rubberize the track.

Exactly how the school board and boosters might divide the cost has yet to be decided. Nor has a timeline for construction or fund-raising been set. But Monday the board unanimously approved a motion of support for the idea.

Mr. McMahon said an all-weather track could help promote wellness for the whole community. He'd like to, for instance, run on such a track as he prepares for a marathon.

In addition to the scheduled reverse raffle, the boosters are thinking about raising funds with a walk-run during the Wauseon Chili Cook-off in September and with luncheons for business people.

Wauseon is one of several Fulton County schools making plans for all-weather tracks.

Evergreen Local school board last month unanimously approved contracts for an all-weather track. The Pettisville and Swanton districts also have worked this year on all-weather tracks.

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