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Caroline is running with blue track

Caroline High School will get a new blue track, but it will come at a cost of an extra $63,000 to taxpayers.

Renovating the athletic facilities at the school is part of the $25 million renovations planned at the high school and Madison Elementary School over the next two years.

OWPR architect Randy Jones and Geoffrey Honan, director of maintenance, gave the School Board an update on the progress of the renovations Monday night.

This is the first stage of three in the renovations. The work on the athletic facilities is expected to be completed by August.

The work will be done by Charlottesville-based Precision Sports Surfaces at a cost of $285,778 plus an additional $63,000 to make the track blue.

At the School Board meeting Monday, during discussion, board members were divided over the track and its cost.

Madison District representative Shawn Kelley spoke in favor of the blue track, saying it will make the school stand out and will bring a sense of pride.

However, Western Caroline’s Mary Anderson pointed out that the extra money it would cost for the blue rubber could be used elsewhere.

All but Port Royal District representative Tinka Harris voted in favor of the blue track, despite the extra cost.

Another option was to make the track red (the school’s colors are red, white and blue), but it would not be the red that is desired. It would be more like a brick red and would cost an additional $49,000.

Other work that needs to be done includes upgrading bleachers, relocating the long/high jump area, renovating restrooms, expanding and renovating the field house and improving athletic fields.

The track was originally budgeted to cost about $600,000, then lowered to $400,000.

When the bid still came in under budget, officials agreed to a contingency fund for the blue coating at a special meeting. They kept that position at Monday’s meeting.

The discussion took place at the same meeting when several of the school division’s bus drivers asked the board for pay increases after several years of being frozen.

Though the board approved a budget with a 2.5 percent raise for support staff, it asked the division’s finance director to look into the cost of a 4 percent pay raise for support staff.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413