Work to replace Cascade, Jackson tracks to begin

Work will begin next month on installing new synthetic tracks at two Everett high schools, following years of complaints about injuries caused by the old cinder tracks.

The tracks will be built at Cascade and Jackson high schools. Both tracks are expected to be completed in September.

The new eight-lane tracks, costing a total of $982,645, will be built by A-1 Landscaping and Construction Inc. in Snohomish.

Other associated costs, such as design and permit fees, state sales tax, change orders, testing and inspection costs are expected to total $393,000, bringing the total estimated cost of the project to $1.37 million.

“I’m excited, thrilled,” said Carl Shipley, one of a number of Cascade parents who has been lobbying the Everett School Board for the improvements. “I’m glad they’re doing that.”

The projects end a long campaign by athletes and parents to get new tracks installed.

Last year, students began a letter-writing campaign, asking for improvements to the Cascade High track. The athletes blamed their injuries, including pulled muscles, injured shins and damaged tendons, on the track’s rutted sometimes muddy conditions.

The track was first installed when the school was built nearly 50 years ago. However, in 1999 improvements were made to the track and a nearby practice field with new grass turf, cinder surfaces and new drainage and irrigation systems.

The school board also decided to replace the district’s other high school cinder track, which is at Henry M. Jackson High School. It’s estimated to be 20 years old.

The two new tracks will be similar to the synthetic track at Everett Memorial Stadium.

The Everett School Board approved the new tracks last year, bundled into a building program that also included a new administration building, estimated to cost $26.4 million.

Sports, music and arts programs “are one of the key connectors to school life for many of our students,” said Jeff Russell, school board president.

“It will be great for the community, too,” he said, providing a place for early morning, weekend and evening workouts for children and adults living near the two schools.

Planning for new turf practice fields, a second project also requested by students and parents at both schools, is under way. But it could be another year or two before those improvements are made, Russell said.

Replacement of both fields is expected to cost nearly $3.1 million.

Calls for improvements in the practice fields were made after students complained that sloppy field conditions were leading to injuries.

As a freshman, Nathan Elliot, a member of Cascade High School’s football team, broke his ankle and ended up in a cast for six weeks after another football player slipped and fell on top of him.

Crystal Guidice’s son, Blake, participates on Cascade’s football, basketball and track teams. She said she wished the practice field project could have occurred at the same time as the new track.

“I think it’s great they’re doing the track,” she said. “I think it’s a huge mistake that they’re not doing the field with the track.”

However, she said she’s excited about the prospect of better practice fields in the future, which could benefit the community.

“There’s soccer teams that will pay $85 an hour if you have lights and a turf field,” she said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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