The Macalester track needed help. With the most recent repairs finished 20 years ago, and a minor resurfacing project a decade ago, it was high time for a full replacement.
“We were in need, and had begun to see some pretty significant wear patterns on the track,” Athletics Director Kim Chandler said.
The $530,663 dollar project had been under consideration for several years prior to this summer’s construction process.
“It was a long-term planning thing,” Chandler explained. “We been talking about it over the course of time, as it’s a big project. It had been in discussion for about six years.”
While the six-figure price tag may seem costly, funding mechanisms were put into place well in advance. According to Chandler, the school set aside money for two years to fund the project.
“A project like that needs to be planned out in terms of funding,” Chandler said. “We have a capital planning project that takes place and provides money for significant projects.
The track replacement started just after Reunion in early June, and continued through the second week of August. According to Chandler, there were few problems during the construction.
“It went really well overall. We got in some situations with the weather and wind playing a role, and those things are unpredictable. We had planned a pretty significant about of time for them to complete the project,” Chandler said.
The only delay encountered was a small one, with striping the track surface. Otherwise, the facility was ready to go for the fall. Carrying out the construction also required advance strategizing in another area.
“Because we committed to this two years ago, we were able to work with camps and conferences in not taking any rentals this summer, so we were already anticipating the closure of the space. We were very proactive about planning ahead,” Chandler said.
While replacing the track was a natural progression in the facility’s life and was planned for, the repairs to the 2008 pool were a bit less expected.
“There was a premature failure of the tile and grout in the pool, so the [tile and grout] had to removed and replaced,” Chandler said.
The job began with the closure of the pool in April, and was finished by early July.
The grout and tile replacement, which Chandler described as “pretty cut and dried,” was actually carried out and paid for by the companies involved in the original pool installation.
“They shared in the cost of making the repairs, because the grout had prematurely failed, and took on all the cost of making the repairs,” Chandler said.
Both projects were overseen by Macalester project manager Kevin Maynard.
“He does a great job for the college in terms of managing these kinds of projects, and we are very fortunate to have him here,” Chandler said.
Completing the necessary repairs in the pool necessitated more shuffling of classes and usage than the track project.
“We accelerated the classes that were being taught in the pool last semester, and allowed them to meet additional times in the week so we could end them early and begin the repairs,” said Chandler. “Open swim and master swim moved to St. Kate’s during that time, and we are very thankful for their support and accepting Mac IDs.”
Chandler said that Mac collaborates with St. Kate’s in other ways, adding, “They use our indoor and outdoor track as well. It’s always nice when you have that kind of partnership.”