by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- The John Mall Athletic Sports Complex had a facelift this past week when the eight-lane track was nearly completed. During the past two weeks, Hellas construction of Texas began cleaning the surface and laying the undercoat in preparation for laying the final, rubberized surface this week. "The wind is a key factor in laying the final coat," said Grant Writer and coordinator Gaye Davis.
The lane markings should be finished by the weekend. The $187,000 contract included the long and triple jump pit and the pole vault zone. Completion of the track resulted from a $200,000 Great Colorado Outdoors Grant. The balance of the grant money purchased the chainlink materials and cement gutter around the track interior. Personnel from the district completed the fence labor.
The public restrooms and concession stand are already completed and will be ready for use when the season begins. Davis is writing a grant to the United States Department of Agriculture for the lighting. She is optimistic the field will be ′lit up′ by the home opener September 3 when the All-School Reunion hosts their annual event. Another addition to the complex will be a flagpole donated by the 2010 senior class.
The locker rooms likely will not be completed by the time the season begins. Also, the district is waiting for the release of a Gates Foundation Grant for $100,000 and $60,000 from the Denver Broncos to purchase the bleachers. However, the grants do not include the concrete, which will delay the construction of the stands.
The total cost of the complex has exceeded 2.8 million dollars of which over 2.2 million came from various grants. The balance came from the sale of the old middle school and from the county as well as from in-kind services. Gaye Davis, RE-I grant writer said, "It is important for the public to know that no money has come from the general fund for the project."
The Sports Complex is taking shape and will be one of the best facilities in Southern Colorado. With the completion of the track, John Mall can play host to several track and field events in the future, which should bring additional revenues to the district and area.