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The Complete Guide to Running Track Construction: From Planning to Completion

The Complete Guide to Running Track Construction: From Planning to Completion

The Complete Guide to Running Track Construction: From Planning to Completion

Running track construction is an essential aspect of developing athletic facilities for schools, universities, and communities. A well-designed and constructed running track offers athletes a safe and efficient surface for training and competitions.

Constructing a high-quality running track requires a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in the process. From the initial planning and design to the selection of the right materials and installation methods, each step is crucial to the success of the project. In this guide, we’ll provide detailed insights into running track construction, covering essential aspects such as costs, surface materials, rubber thickness, and more. Whether you’re a school, university, or sports facility looking to build a new track or upgrade an existing one, this article will equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions for a superior running track.

Riverton High School Running Track Resurfacing
Riverton High School Athletic Running Track Construction

Planning and Designing your running track

Before embarking on a running track construction project, several factors must be considered:

Site selection: Choose a site with proper drainage, level ground, and enough space to accommodate the track and additional features like bleachers or locker rooms.

Track dimensions: A standard running track features a minimum of 8 lanes, with a total width of 72 feet (22 meters). The track’s total length depends on its shape, with most tracks ranging from 400 to 800 meters.

Track surface: Running track surfaces are typically made from latex or polyurethane materials, with polyurethane offering more durability and performance benefits. The rubber thickness on a running track typically ranges from 13 to 15 millimeters.

Design elements: Consider lane width, track layout, drainage, and other essential elements in the design phase to ensure a functional and visually appealing running track.

Understanding The Running Track Construction Process

The running track construction process involves several steps:

Site preparation: Clear and grade the site to ensure a level surface for the track. Excavation, grading, and drainage system installation are essential for a well-prepared site.

Base construction: Install a compacted aggregate base layer to provide a stable foundation for the track surface.

Surface installation: Apply the chosen track material (latex or polyurethane) to the prepared base.

Marking and striping: Paint the lane lines, start and finish lines, and other necessary markings on the track surface.

Additional features: Install steeplechase barriers, long jump/triple jump runways, and other track and field elements as needed.

Cost of running track construction

The cost of running track construction depends on factors such as materials, labor, and additional features. On average, the price for an 8-lane running track with all required field events can range from $400,000 to $800,000. To budget and finance your project effectively, consider seeking professional guidance and exploring available funding opportunities.

Quality Control And Testing

Ensure that your running track construction adheres to industry standards by conducting regular inspections and tests. These assessments will help identify any issues and ensure the track’s longevity and safety.

Utilizing Cooperative Purchasing Agencies

Public entities can take advantage of cooperative purchasing agencies’ existing contracts to select the contractor and purchase the desired running track without sending out for public bid. This process aims to eliminate purchasing stress while saving public entities time and money.

Get Started with your next project by speaking with our Sports Division

We believe that every athlete, regardless of their level, deserves access to top-quality running tracks and athletic facilities. At Byrne & Jones, we are dedicated to helping schools, universities, and communities create exceptional outdoor recreational spaces for their athletes. By introducing Byrne & Jones as a trusted resource for running track construction and resurfacing projects, our goal is to help transform athletic facilities and foster a greater sense of pride and satisfaction among their users. If you are interested in learning more about designing, building, or maintaining a running track in your community, please reach out to us at (314) 254-9766. 

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8 tips to maintaining a Polyurethane Athletic running track

8 tips to maintaining a Polyurethane Athletic running track

8 tips to maintaining a Polyurethane Athletic running track

So, you’ve invested in building or installing a polyurethane running track…now what?

A properly constructed and maintained polyurethane running track should last a couple of decades, providing athletes with a reliable and high-performance surface for years to come. The key to achieving this longevity and ensuring optimal track safety lies in implementing a comprehensive maintenance routine and a steadfast dedication to following these essential maintenance tips.

Good vs Bad Track Comparison

Tips to properly maintain an athletic running track

1. Keep vehicles OFF the track

This includes gators, lawn mowers, golf carts, etc. The surface is made to be run or walked on. Wheels and vehicle weight will wear, tear, and prematurely age the surface. And depending on the weight, it could damage the asphalt below the tracks surface.

2. Keep weeds/grass away from the edges

Grass will want to grow into the polyurethane surface. When that happens, look out! You are going to have issues. A good weed killer is recommended to eliminate this from happening. Walk both the inside and outside edges of the track and treat with weed killer.

3. Don’t use a WEED EATER/Trimmer next to the rubber surface.

Too many tracks are damaged by weed trimmers. Use a weed killer.

4. Blow dirt and debris off the running surface.

Having a consistent maintenance plan of using a blower on the track to remove debris can go along way.

5. Watch for wear on lanes one and two.

These are the most commonly used running/walking lanes. They will wear first. Put hurdles or obstructions in those lanes to discourage use.

6. Switch Up Start and Stop Locations.

Practicing starts and stops in the same place will speed up wear. Ensure to vary your start and stop points. 

7. Repair cracks immediately

Act quickly if you notice a crack or tear in the surface. Early repair can prevent further damage.

8. Access the color of the track

If you have a colored track surface, you’ll notice the wear occurring, by the black mat beneath showing through to the surface. As you start seeing more and more of the black mat appearing on the surface, that’s the time to re-color the top. The color is the wearing surface. The black mat is the structural foundation. 

If you own a black track surface, you have to be vigilant in your inspections. Because there is no wearing surface to “warn” you that it’s time to recolor, it is easy for your track to be word down to the asphalt before you realize there is a problem.

Red Track Needing Repair

I need to repair my running track, what are my options?

1. Respray The Track

The most common repair option is to recolor (respray) a colored wearing surface on your existing surface and restripe. You should do this every 6 to 7 years. It’s not uncommon for a running track to be recolored 2 to 4 times during its lifetime.

2. Remove the polyurethane track surface

This would be recommended if your black mat was no longer usable or safe for running/walking. Crews would completely remove and dispose of the rubber mat. They’d inspect, clean and repair any damaged asphalt. Then a new track surface would be installed and striped.

3. Remove the polyurethane track surface and asphalt base.

This would be recommended if the asphalt base was no longer stable or usable. The old asphalt would be milled and new hot-mix asphalt would then be installed. Once the asphalt has cured, a new polyuretahe black mat and structural spray will be placed, followed by striping. 

4. Full removal and reconstruction

This is the most extreme of the repair options. You’d remove and dispose of everything and start over. This would include soil stabilization, grading, installing new curbs, aggregate base, asphalt or concrete, then track surface.

New Red and Blue Running Track

Get Started with your next project by speaking with our Sports Division

Remember, your new running track should last you a long, long time. However it’s going to require maintenance. It’s important to build a relationship with the company and individuals who constructed or maintained your running track. They are qualified to notice the warning signs and make the recommendations of what type of maintenance should be considered.

The American Sports Builders Association recommends you use a Certified Track Builder (CTB) to inspect and repair or reconstruct your running track.

We believe that every athlete, regardless of their level, deserves access to top-quality running tracks and athletic facilities. At Byrne & Jones, we are dedicated to helping schools, universities, and communities create exceptional outdoor recreational spaces for their athletes. By introducing Byrne & Jones as a trusted resource for running track construction and resurfacing projects, our goal is to help transform athletic facilities and foster a greater sense of pride and satisfaction among their users. If you are interested in learning more about designing, building, or maintaining a running track in your community, please reach out to us at (314) 254-9766. 

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Byrne & Jones Sports Construction Receives 5 ASBA Awards in 2022

Byrne & Jones Sports Construction Receives 5 ASBA Awards in 2022

Byrne & Jones Sports Construction Receives Five ASBA Awards in 2022

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national organization for builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities, has announced the winners of its annual awards. Awards are presented each year to facilities built by ASBA members, which display construction excellence.

Awards are presented in various categories: Tennis Courts, Running Tracks, Sports Fields, Pickleball Facilities and Track & Field Facilities. Within some categories, there are divisions; for example, the Sports Field category recognizes single- and multiple-field facilities.

Members of the Byrne & Jones Sports Construction team made their way out to Palm Desert, California where the winners of awards were announced at the Association’s 2022 Technical Meeting. Byrne & Jones Sports Construction was honored to receive the following awards:

Rantoul Family Sports Complex | Gold Medal Multi-Field Distinguished Sports Facility

Among the winners was The Rantoul Family Sports Complex, located in Rantoul, Illinois, for Best Multi- Field Facility. Byrne & Jones Construction completed the Rantoul Family Sports Complex in Spring of 2021. The outdoor Sports Tourism Complex includes 10 ball diamonds and 8 multi-use fields for contact sports. The all-synthetic turf facility recently ended their second season and has seen nearly one million visitors in 2022, hosting play for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, ultimate frisbee, and numerous community events. Mayor Chuck Smith states, “We are thankful to the ASBA for this year’s special honor and recognition. We are proud of our leadership team and also our partnership with Byrne and Jones Sports Construction of St. Louis, Mo. If you haven’t had a chance to visit our facility, I encourage you to visit soon. I am confident that you will find a wide selection of sports options, along with a first-class sports center, located in one of the fastest growing communities in central Illinois.”

The 2023 season begins in late March with the Rantoul Township High School Baseball Invite and will extend well into November. Director of Operations Ryan Reid said, “This award is a true honor. With the leadership of Byrne & Jones, dedication from their subcontractors to see construction through during a tough 2020, and the collaboration between the different departments of the Village of Rantoul, we had the best team for this project. Special thanks to Mayor Smith, our Board of Trustees, Administrator Eisenhauer, and Recreation Director Luke Humphrey for moving this vision forward.”

Seneca Athletic Complex | Distinguished Multi-Field Facility

Seneca School District hired Byrne & Jones through TIPS Cooperative Purchasing early in January of 2021.  The project consisted of an 8 lane running track, a new baseball stadium, and a synthetic turf baseball field.  The new athletic facilities solved many issues for the district. 

Superintendent Dr. Brandon Eggleston said the impressive features are sure to have virtually everyone in this Southwest Missouri town of about 2,500 residents swelling with pride about this project.  “The track is an eight-lane stand-alone track. The new multi-purpose facility will have locker rooms, bathrooms, a storage area and a concession stand. The track will also be open for the public to use.”  Eggleston went on saying, “Our previous baseball and softball fields were in a flood plain and flooded frequently. And with the new location, we do not have to worry about flooding.  We did not even have a track to practice on, so that is significant for our student-athletes. We now have a complex that can host any size track meet and a baseball/softball field that will be a state-of-the-art facility.  The complex will be a point of pride for our community. It is a place where our student-athletes can compete that is safe, high quality and reliable.” 

Westville High School | Distinguished Multi-Field Facility

Westville’s renovations posed a particular challenge only fit for the most experienced design-build sports contractor. They needed to entrust someone to redesign and shift the location of their existing stadium to fit a new concrete plaza and fitness building, and expanded bleachers, in the extremely limited space they had available.

Having saved capital funds for years and having one shot to get it right, Westville entrusted Byrne & Jones with this huge responsibility. Not to mention the tight schedule it needed to be built within – the project was approved in November 2020, design was completed by January 2021, construction started in February and the new stadium was ready for play by August of 2021, along with a full new turf baseball and softball field. The great success of this project was also awarded the project spotlight in TIPS Purchasing Cooperative’s quarterly newsletter.

La Salle Peru High School | Distinguished Single Field Facility

One of the most historic football stadiums in Illinois, Howard Fellows Stadium was originally constructed during the Great Depression with funding from FDR’s New Deal incentives.  LaSalle-Peru (LP) High School has called this field home for over 80 years, and through thoughtful and proper upkeep and restoration projects, have been able to keep the stadium current while maintaining its historic legacy. The most recent of these upgrade projects was a severely important one – upgrading the playing surface.  Having been plagued by poor drainage and dirt runoff, the stadium field had slowly become a surface full of ruts and puddles. 

LP ran an internal analysis of their options to renovate the field, including a full strip, regrading and re-sodding of the field, and installing synthetic turf.

Ultimately, LP decided that installing synthetic turf was the proper decision due its consistency as a safe playing surface, as well as improved drainage for the site and far less maintenance expenditures.  And this wasn’t any ordinary turf field – LP opted to install a field that rivals most NFL stadiums, choosing the highly resilient IronTurf Woven product from Greenfields, resting on top of a Brock concussion safety pad.  In order to accomplish this, LP sought out the best sports construction team in the business and hired Byrne & Jones directly through a purchasing cooperative to get the job done.  Byrne & Jones successfully delivered their project on time and on-budget.

Plummer Family Park | Distinguished Multi-Field Facility

Plummer Family Park opened in Edwardsville, IL, in August of 2020 and is already becoming a regional destination for tournaments and traveling athletes. The 83-acre, $12.8 million park includes four baseball/softball diamonds, six multi-purpose fields, 12 pickleball courts, concession stands, restrooms, a shared-use path, and parking for 821 vehicles, including 22 ADA-compliant spaces. Additional ball diamonds, a community park space, and additional parking are planned for a future phase.

Byrne & Jones Sports Facilty Construction

If you are interested in learning more about designing and building a world-class athletic facility you can reach out to us at  (314) 254-9766 and ask to speak with a member of our Sports Division. We have completed over 1300+ athletic facility improvement projects across the Midwest since 2010. By combining our in-house design team with certified track and field builders, we can help our clients build their dream facility. From start to finish, we will be with you every step of the way. We are now the winners of 14 ASBA awards – which you can view here.

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Understanding the different types of playground surfaces

Understanding the different types of playground surfaces

Understanding the different types of playground surfaces

When it comes to choosing a safe surface for public playgrounds such as schools or parks, there are several options to consider that are both safe and inclusive. These options are grouped into two major categories of surfacing: unitary and loose-fill.

Playground surfacing is a key factor to playground safety. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, falls to the playground surface account for nearly 70 percent of all injuries. Installing playgrounds over dirt, grass, concrete or pavers with no safety surfacing are not safe options and can indeed be life-threatening. To minimize risk and improve playground safety, playground flooring must be soft enough and thick enough to lessen the impact of a child’s fall.

Along with increased safety, certain playground surfaces also improve accessibility for playground visitors with mobility challenges. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which governs public playgrounds, requires that ground cover materials must accommodate all people, including physically challenged people who have mobility and footing issues such as people on crutches or in wheelchairs. 

Villa Duchesne Playground

The different types of unitary material playground surfaces include:

    • Synthetic Playground Grass
    • Pour-in-place Rubber
    • Rubber Mats
    • Tiles

Unitary surfaces include synthetic playground grass or turf, poured-in-place rubber, bond-in-place rubber, and interlocking resilient tiles – all with protective under-padding to help protect against falls. While the up-front cost is higher than loose-fill surfacing, unitary surfacing can be cheaper in the long run due to its high durability and low maintenance costs. Unitary surfacing is also extremely safe and guarantees complete accessibility and ease-of-use for physically challenged children and adults. Synthetic Grass and Poured-in-place and bond-in-place rubberized surfacing is also available in a wide variety of colors and shapes to make playgrounds more attractive to children and parents. Unitary surfacing design can also be leveraged to introduce additional games, sensory elements and play events ca to a play area bringing another added benefit to this surfacing solution.

The different types of loose-fill playground surfaces include:

    • Rubber Mulch
    • Wood Chips

Rubber mulch and engineered wood fiber (EWF), playground sand, pea gravel and other bulk materials are considered loose-fill material. However, many Owners are looking to excavate and replace the latter materials – pea gravel, sand – as it is dated, messy and not ADA compliant. While loose-fill material has the least expensive upfront costs and is easy to install, it also requires more frequent maintenance to stay within safety and ADA guidelines.

Loose-fill materials will compress at least 25 percent over time due to use and weathering. Additionally, materials must be replenished to ensure the surfacing system remains at the appropriate depth to adequately cushion falls. Generally speaking, 12 inches of loose fill material is recommended under and around playground equipment. Things like shards of glass, other sharp objects or animal waste can get buried in the loose material posing a potential hazard requiring the material to be replenished and/or replaced from time to time.

Get Started by speaking with a Byrne & Jones Playground Expert

If you are interested in learning more about designing and building a recreational or playground space you can reach out to us at  (314) 254-9766 and ask to speak with a playground expert. We will break down the entire process for you and help you choose the best products for your project. Make the world a better place by building inclusive play environments for children and let us help you along the way.

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What to consider when designing and building an inclusive playground

What to consider when designing and building an inclusive playground

What to consider when designing and building an inclusive playground

The ideal playground is designed with the intent for all children, able-bodied or disabled, to play and enjoy their youth. No matter the child’s circumstances, they should have equal opportunity when attending their local park. The most desired parks provide an array of options that give the visitor the ability to choose the experience most suited for them. Parents should feel safe and comfortable when allowing their children to participate in different play activities. The best parks are the ones where children are constantly requesting to go back. We want to help you build your ideal park! 

By leveraging our cross-division synergy, we are able to provide parks departments with the necessary resources to design and build inclusive playgrounds. Below you will find some of our recommended tips for when beginning your next playground project. 

What is an inclusive playground?

An inclusive playground provides a sensory-rich environment designed for all children to develop socially, physically, and emotionally that is easily accessible. They are carefully designed to provide a safe place for children with and without disabilities to come together and play. A true inclusive playground goes beyond the minimum playground requirements to create a truly unique play environment. Communities are diverse. Playgrounds should be too. 

Some components to consider when building an inclusive playground include:

  • Easy access to the playground
  • Select inclusive play equipment
  • Include sensory play elements
  • Provide social areas for all

Provide Easy Access to the playground

When designing a playground with multiple access points, the builder can provide various ways for visitors to enter the playground. An inclusive playground should be easily accessible for all children and parents. One addition would be the construction of ramps. Ramps allow for inclusive mobility into the playground. The surrounding parking lot should include ADA compliant ramps and sidewalks to further create access.

Select inclusive Play Equipment

When selecting the play equipment that will be installed, it is important to consider children with disabilities. For example, swing systems could feature swings that include harnesses,  wheelchair platforms, etc. Selecting ground-level activities is another way to help those who may not be able to climb onto play equipment. By ensuring the playground has play equipment that can be used by all,  more visitors can visit your park.  

Include sensory play elements

Sensory-rich playgrounds allow children of all abilities to integrate and develop their senses. Children on the Autism Spectrum or with Sensory Processing Disorders often prefer sensory stimulation as it allows them to explore and discover their world in an interactive way. When a child is engaged with sensory play, they are working towards enhancing their cognitive and motor skills, stimulating their creativity, and developing social skills. The more they play, the more they develop skills necessary to engage, change and impact the world around them.

Provide social areas for all

Is it important to include both individual and group play settings within the equipment. Not all children enjoy or want to play in large groups everyday so it important to give them choices. Including safe spaces can provide children areas for sensory relief. Equally important is the aspect of a playground that offers children the space to interact and play with one another. Play structures that incorporate both of the recommendations above can provide great balance for visitors. 

Get Started by speaking with a Byrne & Jones Playground Expert

If you are interested in learning more about designing and building an inclusive playground you can reach out to us at (314) 254-9766 and ask to speak with a playground expert. We will break down the entire process for you and help you choose the best equipment for your project. Make the world a better place by building inclusive play environments for children and let us help you along the way. 

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