By MATTHEW MEYER | Reporter
The $1.5 million plan to replace the track and field in Palisades Charter High School’s iconic Stadium by the Sea is rounding into form, with construction tentatively set to begin on June 12—the Monday after graduation.
Though the final contract is still pending, a South Carolina firm called First Form is expected to install both surfaces. Super Bowl-winning quarterback and PaliHi alum Jay Schroeder, who works with First Form, lobbied for his alma mater to consider the company’s top-flight options.
Both of the surfaces they install at PaliHi will represent significant upgrades.
The track will be a “full-pour” surface in the style of collegiate stadiums.
The field turf will use new technology that does away with the loose, crumby, rubber infill that lies underneath most turf fields from the last decade. Some fear that those pesky crumbs of rubber—which are scattered all over the field by the end of a game, and find their way into shoes and clothing—could have carcinogenic properties. That’s never been proven, but PaliHi will be following an industry trend by avoiding the infill for their new surface.
The stadium, which over the years has played host to everything from varsity football games to graduation ceremonies and Fourth of July celebrations, last received major track and field renovations in 2007.
The $1.6 million project, funded in large part by community organizations and individuals, was completed by a since re-branded group called Geo Sports Surfaces.
That renovation was ultimately a mixed bag, with the turf field holding up for as long as advertised, but the running track only lasting for about half of its projected lifespan. The track’s shortcomings likely stemmed from mistakes made during the installation process.
Operations Assistant and Liaison Rocky Montz told the Palisadian-Post that he’s confident in both the field and track’s longevity this time around.
Montz, who travelled to South Carolina to meet with First Form himself, called the company’s work “first-rate.” He said that the key to the school getting their money’s worth was to find a group with a proven record of installation success. First Form checks that box.
“He’s been putting in tracks forever,” said Montz, of the company’s installation overseer, who’s worked in the industry for more than 40 years.
The school will pay First Form’s bill with a combination of grant funding and donations. At a recent Booster Auction, the school raised $25,000 in 10 minutes by selling donor bricks and the chance to sponsor a row of bleachers. The school is also selling naming rights to the field, track and even stadium, which would run $750,000.
The school already had $400,000 set aside for the project, as well.
Director of Development Michael Rawson told the Post that PaliHi will start a direct campaign to current and past parents this month.
As construction takes place this summer, the Fourth of July celebration will shift from Stadium by the Sea to the school’s baseball field. That might ultimately be a permanent move, as the school looks to preserve their prized new surfaces for the
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