Scotland County R-I will be replacing its old chat-based gravel track with a new synthetic all-weather surface at the end of the current school year.

After securing more than half the funding privately, the Scotland County R-I Board of Education on Friday voted to move forward with a $600,000 project to construct a new all-weather track.

The board voted 7-0 to accept the bid from ATG Sports to construct the new eight-lane all-weather track as well as a separate pair of long jump and triple jump sites for a total cost of $600,855.

The district had been awarded a $232,060 Land/Water Conservation Grant to help fund the project. An additional $90,000 has been secured through sponsorship agreements and sign sales. The district also raised more than $37,000 through a variety of local fundraisers, including brick sales, various raffles, benefit meals and other donations.

“The community support for the project has been inspiring,” said SCR-I Superintendent Ryan Bergeson. “There were so many people who contributed and helped support the various fundraisers. For example, one night at a home basketball game, eight dozen donated cupcakes were auctioned off for a total of $750.”

At the April meeting, the board of education also voted 7-0 to solicit bids for financing for the remaining costs of the project.

Bergeson noted, that while fundraising efforts will continue, the district will make plans for a lease/purchase agreement that will allow the project to be completely paid off in no more than three years.

The new, legal-sized venue will allow SCR-I to host track meets, potentially even district competitions in the future.  

The track will be surrounded by a four-foot tall fence on the front and sides with a 6-foot fence on the back stretch (north side) where advertising signs will be displayed. Current sponsors include Scotland County Livestock, 5D Transportation, US Bank, Doggie Boy Enterprises, Gas & More, Blomme Construction, Dr. Jeff and Trinity Davis, RPM, Off Road Tire, Jardin and Brandi Fuller, Walker Motors, Oberholtzer Plumbing, the Farm Shop, MJB trucking, Aylward Farms and Aylward Insurance.

Additional space is available. Anyone interested in a sponsorship can contact Bergeson at 660-465-8531.

Construction is expected to begin in May with an August 1 completion date.

The district is hoping to reduce the project cost with in-kind donations that will focus on excavation and removal of the existing track curbing. Such opportunities may also include additional excavation work as well as rock hauling and sub-base preparation.

“We don’t have the exact details on what type of work we will be allowed to do, but we have had several local contractors indicate a willingness to assist,” said Bergeson.

That in-kind labor also will benefit the district once the track is complete, as a new Tiger Plaza will be constructed as an entrance to the track and football stadium featuring personalized bricks.

“The plaza project will begin this fall once the track is completed,” said Bergeson. “That cost is not included in the initial bid, as much of the work will be done through donations.”

Bricks for the walkway (4×8) can be purchased for $50, and will include a personalized message. Larger 8×8 and 12×12 brick tiles are also available for $100 and $200 respectively. To order online visit polarengraving.com/scotlandcountyr1schools.