Over the past couple of seasons, Carson High coach Todd Ackerman has often cast an eye of concern out on the school's Jim Frank Track and Field Complex.
All the while, he has watched with growing concern as Carson's boys and girls track athletes run on an all-weather surface that has begun to show signs of wear and tear after about eight years of use.
Keep in mind that the track is used not only by Carson's track and field program, but by those of neighboring schools such as Douglas, South Tahoe and Dayton. Douglas and South Tahoe, without adequate facilities of their own, have used Carson as the site to host conference meets for at least five years.
There is wear around the starting line for the 100-meter dash and the high hurdles races. The inside lanes are visibly tired not only from day-to-day use by high school athletes, but by joggers and recreational runners from the community who use the track. The track is also in need of a drainage system to prevent flooding on the track - a common sight in recent years after any substantial rain or snowfall.
"It gets a lot of use," Ackerman said. "You not only have the high school, but the two running clubs here in town and the tons of community people who use it."
This past Thursday, however, he appeared upbeat as he gazed out upon the facility during a Carson J.V. football game.
"We were up here talking the other day about how nice this would look if the track was blue," said Ackerman, who has hatched a plan to raise funds to not only resurface the track but refurbish the entire facility. "A sky blue track around a green football field could be the biggest thing to happen at the Jim Frank Track and Field Complex in many years."
A face lift, if you will and Ackerman, along with Carson football coach Shane Quilling and Athletic Director Ron McNutt, are leading the attempt to get the project rolling, along with assistance from community businesses such as New Life Bakery.
The only catch is a hefty price tag the project will entail.
"Roughly, we're talking somewhere between $300,000 to $400,000," Ackerman said. "We're talking about the resurfacing; it's a nine-lane track that right now is one-eighth of an inch thick, and we want to raise that to one-half or three-quarters inch thick. We want to reconstruct the the west and east sidelong jump runways and add another pole vault runway and restripping and marking of the surface and change the surface color to CHS blue."
The drainage system represents a large chunk of the project. But the work is a needed, according to Ackerman.
"This new drainage system would not only benefit the track, but also the football field," Ackerman said. "When we do have bad weather, the reservoir will sit on the track - up as high as lane 7 - and out onto the football field for 10 to 20 yards."
Ackerman said the track was put in without a drainage system in an attempt to defer the cost of the track. The cost is steep, but well worthwhile, Ackerman insists.
"In the wake of the recent tragedy in the U.S., we all have felt the need to help those effected by donating what we can," Ackerman said. "The show of support has truly been outstanding. I do know and understand at this point in time our needs are very insufficient compared to those in New York and Washington D.C., but our situation is real and one that does need your help.
"In our efforts to raise money for the track, we are starting a program called Blue Track Medals," Ackerman said. "To help out in our effort, if you cannot afford this amount, any donation will be graciously accepted. I myself will start off by donating $100. I hope that my fellow Carson school system employees and the community can match this amount or give what they can."