Plans detailed for Perham track and field renovations
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
If all goes according to schedule, by this fall Dawson County High School will have a track and field complex that could be the envy of every high school in Montana.
Details of the renovations planned for the track and football field at Perham Field were unveiled at the Glendive Unified School Board’s meeting Thursday night.
The project is being funded by a private donation from Ross and Tara Oakland.
Sam Fisher of Fisher Tracks, Inc. was on hand to give a rundown of the renovation plans. Fisher Tracks was unanimously approved by the board as the project’s contractor. Because the company is a member of the Montana Purchasing Cooperative, the school district was not required to put the project out for bid.
The existing asphalt-base track will be removed. In its place will be built a post-tension concrete track surfaced with a 13 millimeter thick polyurethane surface. The track surface will be a brick red color.
According to Fisher, no other city in the state can lay claim to having such a high-quality track.
“You will have the only post-tension concrete track in the state of Montana,” he said. “In theory, a world-class meet could be held here and (any world records broken) couldn’t be challenged. It’s an Olympic track. This is going to be the place people are going to want to run.”
The new track will also feature an electronic timing system which will be linked to the new scoreboard – another renovation donated by the Oaklands – via Bluetooth, providing for instant and accurate timings for track events. The system will be a FinishLynx system, which Fisher described as “the best you can get.”
Besides having a bevy of fancy new features, Fisher said the track will be built to last.
“In (the track’s 40-year expected lifespan) you won’t have a crack in it big enough to slip a credit card into,” he said. “If the creek were to flow out of its banks or the field were to flood it would stay right where it is, you’ll have no substrate issues.”
In addition to the track upgrades and new scoreboard, the Oaklands are donating money to resurface the football field with artificial turf.
The turf will be ProGrass, which according to Fisher, is used on football and athletic fields at several NCAA schools around the country.
All yard lines and markings are sewn into the turf, meaning aside from an occasional “combing” the field will require no maintenance.
The turf will have alternating shades of green every few yards to give the appearance of freshly mowed grass.
Fisher said the current plan for other design features is to have the school’s name sewn into the endzones in 16-foot high red letters bordered in white on a green background. There will also be a logo sewn into the turf at midfield, the final design of which is still to be determined.
Ross Oakland pointed out that having the field covered in artificial turf would also allow for practice on the field, which could allow the school to abandon upkeep on its Gabert Field practice field.
Fisher wants to get to work on the project as soon as the school district can give up use of the track. Installing the new track should take about a month from start to finish, he said.
Reach Jason Stuart at email@example.com.