Orcas High’s current sports teams spend a considerable amount of their time mucking about on the drain-lacking fields, running laps through puddles and stepping ankle-deep in the field-side moats. It is clear that the school is in dire need of functional sports terrains. Now, as a result of a million dollar donation, an Orcas Island High School community running track is in the works. There has been a committee established, Orcas Island School District Track Committee, that has been working diligently since the end of 2014 to make this project happen. The very generous, anonymous donation to the Orcas Island Community Foundation has provided the funds for the new track and field.
The current plan, subject to modification, as of April 1, is to build an eight-lane, rubberized running track surrounding a natural grass athletic field. Potentially, the track will be the BSS 100 Paved-in-place Synthetic Track System by Beynon. It is to be an all-weather system with a rock and concrete base and a shock absorbing layer made of rubber granules. The track, conceivably, will be encompassed by concrete sidewalks to separate it from the field, and fencing will enclose the entire system, in order to protect it from vandalism and regulate use. Additionally, irrigation systems and night-use lighting are options being considered. The location will be on the upper field, behind the school, but the specific orientation has yet to be nailed down. It is clear that any changes to the current field(s) will be upgrades.
Students have been dreaming of a running track for years, as a running team has always been an exciting prospect for the Orcas student body. There is no doubt that the school has enough athletes to justify building the new facility, especially since the entire school will be able to utilize the improved system through sports training and physical education classes. Before this development, every time track season rolled around many curious students looked toward Friday Harbor with wistful eyes. Those who considered attempting to join Friday Harbor High School’s team were shut down because of inconvenient ferry times and their own conflicting sports schedules. Now, though, not only does the high school have a Cross Country Club, it also has the opportunity for a Track and Field team. The school hopes that the high-performance-level facility will be able to host competitions and increase traffic at our school as well as create better conditions for athletes.
It will take some time to get the project on track, but once construction has begun, the foreseeable time frame will be within eight to 10 weeks. Due to the current construction and the planned track the school will soon have shiny new classrooms, school-wide commons and upgraded sports accommodations. The school is ready and it is off to a running start; ready to supply its students with a healthier learning environment.