School hopes to install track in April

Douglas High School officials are hoping that work on laying down the all-weather track will begin the first week of April.

"Our target goal has been April 1," Douglas High principal Marty Swisher said. "We have been trying to work with Atlas (the company contracted to install the track) to keep that window open.

"They haven't been able to make a concrete committment to be here because, with the weather, we obviously haven't been able to make that committment to them.

"If by some chance we can do it earlier, we surely will. All the indications I have are that April 1 will be when we start getting the ideal temperature ranges."

Work on the $2 million project was originally scheduled to be completed before the winter, but forecasted storms at the time caused work to be delayed until spring.

"Unfortunately, we are not going to have a home track season," Swisher said. "We are trying to make the facility as accessible as we can for the track team. We'll allow them for as long as we can into the shot put area and they'll be able to practice the discus on the side field."

In the meantime, Big George Ventures, which initially donated $1.6 million to the project to install the track, artificial turf for the field and new equipment, has added another $450,000 donation to the project for fencing, infrared security cameras, additional pole vault and long jump venues and a new scoreboard with a video graphics screen.

"With the construction of world-class track and turf amenities at Douglas High School comes the heightened awareness to secure and ensure the longevity of these facilities as well as guarantee the warranty coverage," said Holly Luna, director of business services for the Douglas County School District. "The district and Douglas High School wish to provide the community with a facility that will be secured from damage and protected for the life of the complex. The goal of the district is to ensure proper public access in a way that minimizes the opportunity for damage."

School officials learned from the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association that the new complex was lacking some required venues for schools wishing to host a state track meet. The NIAA requires two long jump runways and two pole vault runways while the curent project at Douglas only has one of each.

"We wanted to make sure that the complex was eligible to host a state meet," Big George project manager Robbe Lehmann said. "Hosting the state track meet would bring significant income to county businesses, so we decided to get the facility up to par."

Swisher said the current phase of the project will focus on building storage for the track equipment and the additional runways.

"Those are the immediate needs," he said. "Once those are finished, we're aiming for July to do new fencing around the complex."

The infrared cameras would be an upgrade from the ones that currently survey the area, Swisher said, but their installation may take a little longer as the school is in the process of upgrading its entire system and he wants to be sure that the new cameras on the field will interface properly with the it.

"We appreciate the generosity from Big George Ventures so much," Swisher said. "The dilemma for us has been that as the project has grown, and we've continued to add things, the completion date continues to push back.

"I know peopleget frustrated with that, but at the end of the day we are goin to have the premiere facility in Northern Nevada. It'll be incredible, so we'll be patient and get it done."

-- Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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