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Ashland High track closed for 'foreseeable future'

The Ashland High School track has been closed “for the foreseeable future” after a risk management company inspected it Wednesday and determined it was “unsuitable for use,” according to a press release emailed to the Tidings.

The district is urging people who want to use a local track to instead use the one at Ashland Middle School.

A group of community members led by parents Neil Holland and Jim Williams and backed by the Ashland Schools Foundation is attempting to raise $500,000 to renovate the track. According to the press release, the group has so far raised $280,000.

“We have been aware that our current track facility would be in need of renovation in the near future,” Ashland High athletic director Karl Kemper said. “We have been patching the running surface to keep it safe and try to squeeze some more life out of it. There are many critical needs for funding within the district, with finite dollars to work with. Fortunately, as often happens in this wonderfully supportive community, some committed parents have stepped forward to generate revenue that will likely make this upgrade sooner than later.”

The track’s black rubber surface was standard for high school tracks when it was installed in 1991, but it hasn’t been resurfaced since 2003 and is considered by Ashland’s coaches well beyond its useful life. Loose asphalt is scattered across its surface and grass has grown up through cracks in places. Also, the retaining wall and foundation are beginning to fail, which is why the track is no longer level.

Information about the fundraising efforts can be obtained by contacting the Ashland Schools Foundation at www.ashlandschoolsfoundation.org or by calling 541-482-8197. The fundraising group has also set up a campaign at GoFundMe.com/AshlandTrack.