Bond needs to be passed for track |

Bond needs to be passed for track

Carson City voters will have a chance to take pride in their community on Tuesday. They’ll have a chance to deal with what I believe is the biggest embarrassment for this community. At least one of the biggest embarrassments.

This year’s election to be held on Tuesday includes the Carson City School District Bond Question No. 1, a $25 million bond measure for improvements in the Carson City School District.

Among the improvements that will be made if the bond passes is to repair the all-weather track and drainage at Carson High’s football stadium. Other improvements to Carson High’s athletic facilities – including replacing the football field’s natural grass surface with field turf – could be made if there’s enough money left over.

I’ve covered issues like this in school districts for many years and I know the understandable feelings of many who are hesitant and skeptical about passing bond measures for school districts. I’m sure there’s also the sentiment that the district should have maintained the track poperly in the first place.

But for a community of this size not to have a usable all-weather track is unacceptable.

“It’s not embarrasing to me so much,” said CHS track coach Todd Ackerman about not having a usable track. “It should be embarrassing to the community.”

It should also be noted that the passage of the bond isn’t expected to increase property taxes. “Our taxes are not going to go up,” Ackerman said.

Water damage to the track due to inadequate drainage has contributed to the disrepair of the track. How inadequate the drainage is can be seen most every spring with the ditch between the football stadium and Ron McNutt Field becomes a slough that’s on the verge of flowing over.

“It’s a hazard because of the damages,” Ackerman said. “It’s just like running on asphalt. There’s hardly any rubber there at all.”

If the bond – which needs a simple majority to pass – goes through, the track should be ready again in 2008.

Because of the condition of the track, Carson hasn’t been able to host the Tah-Neva Middle School Championships and its own invitational in recent years.

“That was our major fund-raiser,” said Ackerman about the Carson Invitational.

Without that fund-raiser, Ackerman is forced to fall on other methods to raise funds. “It makes us go and hit the community a little bit harder,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman also noted that the track receives a great deal of use by the school for physical education classes and by the community as well.

“It’s just not a track for track and school,” Ackerman said. “The community uses it a lot.”

It’s also likely that if the track is repaired, Carson would be chosen to host the NIAA 4A State Track Championships in the future and could host other events like Junior Olympic meets as well. Those events would obviously generate revenue for the city.

“Everything’s there but the track,” said Ackerman about Carson being able to host the state track meet.

Even without a decent track, Carson’s athletic facilities rank among the best in Northern Nevada.

“We’ll go from having a very nice facility without a track to having one of the best all-around facilities with a track,” Ackerman said.

CHS principal Fred Perdomo said while the track and drainage are the No. 1 priorities, the needs don’t stop there. “There’s an endless list of needs,” he said.

Perdomo said how much can be done will be determined if the track has to be raised. If the track doesn’t have to be raised that will leave money for other projects.

The next priority would probably be to improve the bleachers at the football stadium. Perdomo estimated that making needed improvements just to the west side bleacers – including replacing wooden walkways with aluminum ones – would cost $125,000.

“That’s something that needs to be done,” said Perdomo about renovating the bleachers. “It just needs to be strengthened. The overall structure is sound. I hope the bond does go through. We really do need to upgrade.”

Ackerman also noted that if there’s enough money to replace the football field’s natural grass with field turf, it would be less costly for the district to maintain the surface in the long run.