DEL NORTE — At first glance, the Alamosa and Ignacio high school running tracks look identical. Bright red, they feel spongy underfoot. But the synthetic surface in Ignacio is slightly thicker with a superior sublayer, and the company that installed it five years ago is currently putting the same quality material in Del Norte’s new school.
The Upper Rio Grande School District is gaining the benefit of experience from contractors. During a construction update meeting on Tuesday, April 16, school officials and managers ironed out details with architect Rich Jarecki and other stakeholders in the room and on the telephone.
Representatives from FCI Constructors described the track installation in Ignacio a half decade ago, and they walked the surface recently to analyze wear-and-tear, and they said it felt even spongier.
Superintendent Chris Burr noted how materials loosen over time, depending on wear. Not open for public use, the school track will likely last many decades with proper maintenance. The red surface has ultraviolet protection to minimize sun damage, and ultimately the softer surface will minimize athlete injuries as well.
With experience comes expectation. One masonry project had to be scrapped and started over from scratch.
“It took us two months to do it wrong,” the manager noted. “I threw a hissy fit on Monday and tore it down. Then we fixed it in two days.”
“I appreciate that you went back to ground zero,” Jarecki noted.
Other finishing touches include verifying final bleacher placement based on the track’s curves, cutting wrestling mats to fit, padding the indoor track that will circle the gym and installing a fiber optic line to the field house. District Technology Coordinator Ken Goff said he would be glad to walk Valley Electric staff through the project to verify the communications installation.
Jarecki presented plans for the school district sign, again based on the pros and cons of other sign installations in the Valley. Meeting attendees shared praise for readable, eye-catching displays.
Jarecki’s design is a ground-mounted concept 16 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall with a two-sided video screen (10 feet by 4.5 feet).
Squeezing “Upper Rio Grande School District C-7” or something similar along the top of the sign might be a challenge, so Burr and others agreed to finalize the lettering before setting them in stone.
Instead of installing separate lights on the ground and pointing them at the sign, the Daktronics monitors project text at night. Goff said that televisions in the building are part of a Samsung order, and the company also makes outdoor monitors. But he also said he preferred Daktronics equipment. Others agreed, and the company claims a temperature range between 40 below and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although temperatures inside the building might not vary by 160 degrees like the sign outside, crews tested the automatic temperature controls this week. Next, the bell schedule and other systems are scheduled to be finished soon.
Motorists passing by the construction site the week before Easter discovered temporary covering on the road where water lines connect between the old and new buildings. Meanwhile, the building grows taller and wider. As the long-term project counts down eight months from finishing touches, school administrators benefit from contractors who have already been there, done that.