The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School committee voted unanimously Thursday morning to spend $148,400 to repave the failed track.

The vote followed a vote of the facilities subcommittee Monday to recommend short-term repairs and make the track usable in time for the spring sports season.

“I think this is the right thing to do,” Vineyard school superintendent Matthew D’Andrea said Thursday.
At the subcommittee meeting Monday, athletic director Mark McCarthy and track and field coach Joe Schroeder both urged some kind of action.

Mr. Schroeder underscored the Island factor. “If Bishop Stang doesn’t have a track — and they don’t — they train across the street at Dartmouth High School,” he said. “Coyle Cassidy doesn’t have a track . . . they train at Taunton High School. We don’t have any other alternative.”

At a meeting last week a group of student athletes implored the committee to take action to repair the track in time for the spring sports season. The track has not been used for a state level competition since 2010. It is currently condemned, with athletes and gym classes prohibited from using it and members of the public strongly discouraged from running on it.

Mr. D’Andrea said he had since learned that Gordon Pierce, president of Cape and Island Tennis & Track, had a fall project cancel, and would have the time and materials to resurface the track. The work would involve a polyurethane track coating, a better system than the spray-on coating used previously, facilities director Mike Taus said.

There is a short timeline, with work needing to start on Sept. 27 and wrapping up the second week of October.

Principal Sara Dingledy asked the committee to make sure that the repavement of the track does not put a squeeze on the school budget.

“It’s all about kids, whether it’s increasing a special ed teacher, or an ESL program, or building in those places — we need to make sure we are being mindful of that,” she said. “That’s fine as long as [the track] is an addition to, not a swap out to parts of the budget.”

Subcommittee members did worry that the repavement would be a band-aid fix on a much larger problem.

“To be blunt, is this like painting over rotten wood, where it looks good for a little while, but you still have same issues because you’re not taking care of the problem originally?” asked Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd.

Meanwhile, Mr. D’Andrea said talks continue on a licensing agreement with the Field Fund, a community group that is raising money to refurbish and maintain grass playing fields at all the schools, including the high school.

“We continue to work with them, we don’t have an agreement as of yet, I do feel we are making progress,” Mr. D’Andrea said.

“Additionally, we don’t have the money or plan yet to do the high school track ourselves. This could potentially be, if it works out with the field fund, a one-year fix.”