Designing a track? Some things to consider

Designing a high school stadium is a special opportunity, and paying attention to certain details when considering how the track is planned can make a big difference in the lifespan and overall quality of the project.

Red, black or blue. The allure of exotic colors matching a school’s scheme can be great, but there are reasons most tracks you see are red, black or blue. Red is the most UV stable color, meaning it will look the most like the day it was installed longest. Black and blue are better than other colors. Also, since red and black are most common, the costs are lower and availability is greater. Ordering exotic colors can add time and money to your project while shortening the lifespan.

Consider colored lane lines to add a bit of color. Black or blue with yellow lane lines can look great and add minimal cost.
Mow strips and concrete on both sides of channel drains. Mowing is perhaps the most common source of track damage, so building in a buffer between the grass and track helps prevent accidental damage.

Asphalt flush with concrete. Concrete curbing and drains should be level with the asphalt subbase.Think about turf covers for sprays. Mat and spray systems come at a lower cost, but have installation concerns like overspray. When spraying a track with an artificial turf field inside, the entire surface must be covered to protect it from spray. This brings additional cost and adds time to the project. Be sure to consider all costs and time factors when considering a spray vs. a sandwich or full pour system.

Bid schedules. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, gets their track project completed in the most convenient timeframe. Waiting until after schools graduate to bid and award projects creates industry compression at the end of August and into September. Everyone wants their facilities ready for Friday night lights in the fall, so bidding earlier in the year and locking in contractors and schedules makes that possible.

On-track logos. We all love school pride, but the track surface is not always the best place to display it. Painting logos or school names/mascots on the track adds significant cost to a project, especially compared to the cost of similar applications to turf. If a school insists on a logo or name painted on the track, it’s best when architects list it as an alternate on bid day to show the true cost.