Washington High School gets new track

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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For The Washington Daily News

Washington High School has not hosted a track meet since 2018. That will change next year as construction is underway for a brand new track. The old one was built around 1996 and most tracks have a lifespan of about 20 years. The old track was rugged and beaten up.

 “The old track was long past its useful life, former track coach Perry Owens said. “The lane markings were makeshift and we had to guess on the length between some hurdles. A new track will be a tremendous boost to the track program and should increase the number of athletes participating.”

The new facility will look much more updated and will also allow track meets to move faster. Washington High School director, Lane Raper, said. “Most tracks in the area have six lanes but ours will have eight, which will help our regular season meets move along faster, We can get more runners in each heat which saves about two hours.”

Raper said the new track allows the Beaufort County meet, which includes Northside and Southside to return along with other meets WHS might not be involved in. The presence of eight lanes allows this new facility to be a potential host for regionals. Hosting a regional track meet allows additional revenue to come into Pam Pack country and reduces travel time.

WHS officials had bids in hand in December of 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a delay until now according to Raper. He said once construction projects restarted, the WHS track was behind others and it took until this spring for the project to start.

The process began in mid-March with the Board of Education’s approval to rebuild. Raper described the construction process as beginning with tearing up the old asphalt and letting it sit for a couple of days. Then the new asphalt goes in and sits for a week. This is the current state of the track. Finally, the rubber goes in and needs to be painted then sit for 30 days before being ready for use. Raper is confident that the track will be completed by mid-June. The total cost was over $250,000 and Raper believes this will be huge for the track program. The team is currently practicing without a track. The distance team is running laps around the building while the sprinters have to go to John Cotton Tayloe elementary school to practice. Raper hopes to eliminate these concerns with the track. He believes more people from other sports will come to the team and the team will perform better with the new facility. The track will also be open for public use during non-school hours.

“We’re excited to have this project almost finished,” Raper said, “It will help all our sports teams and gym classes to be able to use it again and should encourage more students to come out for track next spring.”