The Dighton-Rehoboth High School track will be repaired this spring

DIGHTON — Next year, athletes from Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School will once again be able to compete on their local track for the first time in four years.

During a recent afternoon practice, Superintendent of Schools Anthony C. Azar announced to members of the spring track team that the high school will be receiving a new track by the end of June.

“For much of the student population, the news of the new track was met with great excitement,” said Brandon DeLano, head cross country and winter track coach. “I hope this will be great for our program and increase participation.

Superintendent Anthony Azar, left, and Kristoff Eldridge of Cape and Island Tennis & Track discuss plans for a new track at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.

“The news is bittersweet for the senior class who have never experienced a home game,” he said. “They’re obviously thrilled for their peers, teammates and the rest of the community, but it would have been great to give them a home meet before they graduate. That said, everyone I’ve spoken to is thrilled and happy that the program has a new install that’s been a long time coming.

How much will it cost?

The cost of the project is $379,700 and it will be funded by one-time savings the district has made this year, said district business administrator Robert Baxter.

“We made the conscious decision to look at different ways to fund the cost of track replacement and we are now in an excellent financial position to fully fund the track replacement within our current FY22 budget. at no additional cost to our ratepayers in Dighton or Rehoboth,” Azar said.

Divide the neighborhood? :Should Dighton and Rehoboth K-8 split up?

“Due to many building facilities issues that we inherited and resolved over the past eight years with the support of our two towns and school committee since we became superintendents, it was clear that we had to focus our attention on replacing the school track.

“Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all facets of our school environment, our plans to replace the existing track have been put on hold for the past two years.”

From left, Corporate Administrator Robert Baxter, Cape and Island Tennis & Track's Kristoff Eldridge, Superintendent Anthony Azar and track teacher/coach Brendan De Lano discuss plans for a new track at the Regional High School Dighton-Rehoboth.

Azar said initial prep work has already begun and repairs will hopefully be completed by mid-June.

What will the project consist of?

Cape and Island Tennis & Track has been contracted to manage the repair project, Azar said.

Once repairs are complete, the track will be substantially similar to the existing track, Baxter said. The project includes the removal and disposal of the existing runway surface, the cleaning and repair of the existing asphalt, the extension of the runway shoulder and the installation of a base and an asphalt concrete pavement mix coating recommended by the track manufacturer and the American Sports Builders Association, Baxter said.

The track was last resurfaced around the year 2000, DeLano said. Since that time, especially lately, much of the work in numbers and online has started to fade.

“What made it worse was that big chunks of the rubberized surface started peeling off like a pothole,” he said. “Large chunks, the size of weathered sewer manholes peeling off the surface, and small pieces of rubber were strewn along the length of the runway.”

‘Like the good old times’ :Raynham Park opens simulcast sports betting center

How it impacted the track team

In 2017/18, a USA Track & Field chief official condemned the track for all competitions. Since then, Dighton-Rehoboth teams have practiced on the surface out of necessity, but over time it has proven less and less effective as a training facility, DeLano said.

“In addition to the difficulty in training, we haven’t had a home track meet since the time it was sentenced,” he said. “All of our competitions are scheduled to be outdoors and therefore have to travel every time we compete.”

For the remainder of this track season, the district will ‘cobble together’ workouts at various facilities including on campus, grassy areas, the gymnasium and at Dighton City Hall,” DeLano said. Off campus, the district will bus the kids to practice and then bring them home.

“It was really a pleasure to hear Dr. Azar tell the kids on the DR track team that they will have a new track,” said Dean of Student Activities and Athletics Doug Kelley. “The road has been long for these children and they have been very patient while waiting for a new lead. I’m really excited for our track and field athletes.

Here’s what we know:Is the parking shortage in downtown Taunton a ‘myth’ or a reality?

From left to right, Assistant Superintendent Adam Blaisdell, Track Teacher/Coach Benjamin Pease, Superintendent Anthony Azar, Track Teacher/Coach Brendan DeLano, Corporate Administrator Robert Baxter and Kristoff Eldridge of Cape and Island Tennis & Track, discuss plans for a new track at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.

“Today’s announcement from Dr. Azar was both exciting and promising,” DeLano said. “Learning that the demolition and reconstruction is imminent has lifted the spirits of the athletes and created a sense of excitement for the seasons to come.

“The track is the busiest and busiest competition surface in the district,” DeLano said. “This is not only a community resource, used by walkers and joggers, but also a training and competition facility for cross-country, winter and spring trails. We have not been able to arrange a home meet, or a suitable practice surface, since 2018. However, Dr. Azar’s work promises that our program and our district will benefit from this important asset for years to come. .

Editor Donna Whitehead can be contacted by email at dwhitehead@tauntongazette.com.