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What is the best track surface for High Schools?

What is the best track surface for High Schools?

What is the best track surface for High Schools to install?

So it’s time to choose a track surface – which route should you go? The good news is there are only a handful of standard track surfacing systems offered, and only two that are standard for high schools: Polyurethane Black Mat and Structural Spray systems, and then Latex Systems. The two most important factors that come into play when deciding on one of these track surfaces are durability and cost.

Historically, latex systems were a common first-step when schools were moving from a cinder or gravel track to an all-weather track due to latex’s slightly lower initial installation cost (compared to polyurethane). In recent years, a higher percentage of schools are installing polyurethane as their first system, or removing their existing latex systems to install a polyurethane system. This shift is due to less frequently-needed resurfacings and the longer total life of the polyurethane system.

The Old Way: Latex Running Track Systems

Latex tracks are installed by broadcasting rubber onto the asphalt base, and then coating it with a liquid latex binder. This is performed in multiple lifts and most latex tracks will have two to eight lifts. Naturally, an eight-lift system will last you much longer between resurfacings than a two-lift system, and the frequency of resurfacing can be simply calculated by: number of lifts = number of years between resurfacings. A two-lift latex system should have another top layer installed after two years, and an eight-lift system should have a new top coat put on after eight years. Many latex systems are sold as 7 to 10-year systems regardless of how many lifts are being installed. Make sure you speak with your track provider and are aware of how many lifts are being installed prior to signing on the dotted line.

The most common issue with latex systems is that no matter how many lifts are initially installed, the top layer will shed and harden due to use and UV damage from the sun. As the sun hardens the top layer, and athletes and walkers use the track, the top layer begins to shear off. If you have seen a track like (picture of a worn latex track), then you can be certain that the owner of that track was not able to or did not properly follow resurfacing guidelines. Even if the track surfacing may not be fully worn into the asphalt, the top layer hardens with age and becomes harsher on the athlete’s muscles and joints.

The New Way: Polyurethane Base Mat and Structural Spray Systems (BM&SS)

Most high schools today are installing a Base Mat and Structural Spray (BM&SS) Polyurethane System. There are higher-level, more expensive polyurethane systems that can commonly be found at the collegiate level, but if you are looking for high-quality that won’t break the bank, the BM&SS hits the sweet spot.

Unlike Latex systems that are installed in lifts of rubber-binder-rubber-binder, BM&SS systems mix the rubber and polyurethane prior to installation onto the track asphalt. This allows for a more durable bond and longer-lasting surface.

The base mat is installed with a paver similar to an asphalt paver – but this paver was built specifically for running tracks. A black base mat alone without a structural spray would wear like a mid-range latex track. What makes these systems stand well above their counterpart is the structural spray component.

The Structural Spray is composed of a finer rubber than is in the black base mat, and much higher percentage of liquid polyurethane. The spray is installed with two passes – once clockwise around the track, and the other counter-clockwise (along with once in each direction for field event runways). The purpose of this spray is to protect the black base mat, which is the true cushion and performance layer of the track. A latex system has no top protection, so as it wears, the system begins to oxidize, thin out and harden. The structural spray on a poly system acts like a sunscreen protecting the black mat from the UV degradation of the sun allowing and maintaining the integrity of your black base mat for the life of your track.

The Structural Spray brings three main benefits to the system above the standard latex systems:

1) UV Protection – By providing a UV-protected layer over the base mat, the sun cannot damage the base mat.

2) Use Protection – As athletes and the community uses the running track, the spray will slowly wear over time while maintaining the integrity of the black base mat. Your black base mat will not lose thickness, over time, if new structural sprays are applied accordingly (Appx. every 8 years)

3) Durability – Due to the finer rubber and higher liquid content, the spray seeps into the top layer of the base mat and “locks” the system together. This helps prevent against the cracking commonly seem in latex tracks.

If you have a running track that is in need of attention, or simply have questions regarding the types of track systems that are out there, please do not hesitate to call us at (314) 254-9766.

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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How To Make Sure Your Athletic Facilities Are Ready For Fall Sports

How To Make Sure Your Athletic Facilities Are Ready For Fall Sports

Athletic Facilities

How To Make Sure Your Athletic Facilities Are Ready For Fall Sports

Are you excited for the fall sports season? We are! If you have been dedicated to practicing and conditioning this summer in order to prepare for competition, you should be well prepared to play. However, there are several factors you should know about that can help to boost your rankings. These tips below can help you gain an advantage over your competitors and can help to get you more wins. Make it a good season and consider these suggestions below. 

Creating a Safe Atmosphere For Fans

The first step to gaining an advantage over your competition comes from the amount of fans you have at games. The more people you have cheering the team on, the more enjoyable games will be. For home games, it is important to make sure that you have enough seating available for family and friends to come watch games. At Byrne & Jones Construction, we specialize in all of your concrete needs. We can easily come in and lay concrete near the sports fields to ensure that there is a stable area for bleachers or additional seating. This way, fans can be encouraged to come watch games together and have a good time. With fans cheering your athletes on, this is the first step to success over your rivals. Check out some of our concrete work.
In order for athletes to have an audience, there needs to be enough space to park. If your parking lot is covered with potholes that prevent people from parking in spaces, then you are deterring fans. A parking lot will help to encourage and attract a crowd. No one will want to come watch games if they are worried about finding parking or are scared that the parking lot is falling apart. The paving preservation pros at Byrne & Jones Construction can help with that. We will come in to fix your parking lot and ensure a smooth surface for maximum use. After you have ensured a comfortable experience for your fans, it is time to beat the competition with the fields. 

Providing Your Athletes With the Best Possible Playing Surface

For athletes, it is vital to have a high-quality playing surface. By being able to practice on a smooth surface, your athletes will be ready and better prepared to beat their competition. Whether it is maintenance or a new turf installation, updates are needed to ensure that your tracks and fields are safe to play on. Keeping your surfaces up to date is important to having your fields looking great but also vital to avoiding any big expenses in the future. Additionally, if your surfaces are not smooth or damaged, this can become unsafe for the athletes Byrne & Jones Sports Construction has you covered. We specialize in sports fields including artificial turf fields and will ensure you have a good surface to practice and play on. Deciding on whether to have artificial turf or natural grass fields? We actually wrote a blog about this.Click here to read about the advantages of artificial turf. Check out some of our completed projects to get a better idea of the work we do.
The final touch for securing first place is with the appeal of the field itself. Details such as color and graphics used on your sports field have the power to make all the difference. If your athletes are playing and practicing on plain fields, then there is nothing that definitively sets your complex apart from other schools. By having your school colors sprayed on the endzones of a football field and your logo front and center, no one will forget where they are or who they are playing. By also allowing your athletes to practice on these fields and play on for home games, this little reminder of school spirit can help to boost morale for the players, which is important for winning games. Check out these completed football fields to get a better idea of how you can personalize your field for a nicer appeal. 

Ready to show off your fields and win some games this fall? Contact the experts at Byrne & Jones Construction to have your facility updated and ready for the fall. Give us a call at (314) 254-9766.

What You Need to Know About Running Tracks

What You Need to Know About Running Tracks

Running Track Blog Picture

Everything You Need To Know Before Installing A Running Track

From sprinting to cheerleading to walking, your track will be used a decent amount over the years. A lot of people wonder how long running tracks last, when to get repairs, and what to repair as well as how to prevent wear and tear. Understanding how to care for your running track will be important for maintaining a strong and sturdy track. Read this blog to learn more about what you need to know about your running track.

The first and most important component of a durable and safe running track is the installation. The installation of your running track will help to ensure that it will last long-term without need for much maintenance. It is important that the substructure and drainage of the track is of quality or else you will run into cracking, bubbling, and uneven surfaces in the near future. It’s important to understand that from the subgrade to the surface, each layer is a big part of the finished product. If installed correctly, you should not have many major issues down the road.

Check out this running track installation video.

Get Set!

In order to ensure that your track can last a long time for your runners, it is important to afford it the proper care. This means being strict about the use of the track. Running tracks are specifically made for running and walking only, not roller blading, roller skating, skate boarding, bicycle riding, and motorized vehicles. These various activities will place too much pressure on your track and can tear the surface, which leaves an uneven and dangerous surface for runners.  At the end of the day, running tracks are designed and built for athletes to compete on. We don’t recommend doing anything on the surface other than its intended use. One good practice to help avoid this is to place a sign listing these restrictions near your running track so that people are fully aware of what not to do. At Byrne & Jones, we like to make sure each job site has one of these signs to help deter non runners and walkers.

Just like with most surfaces, it is important to keep it clean. Loose debris can scratch up the surface, and more importantly, create an unsafe surface for people to run and walk on. Tracks should be washed down and swept regularly to ensure that debris and trash are not causing damage. Apart from damaging the surface, having a clean surface will help to keep your track looking great.

If your running track is starting to look dull or you’re beginning to see the black mat through the colored surface, it may be time for a track respray. A track respray is a new wearing course surface for your existing track surface. At Byrne & Jones, our experts will go in and spray a new 2 millimeter thick coating, which is under warranty for 3 to 5 years. Think of this as a surface maintenance that will extend the overall life of the running track system. Respraying your track every 6-8 years will ensure that you maximize the life of the system. Respraying can help to extend the life of your track.

Notice any cracks? These can form from weather conditions as well as wear over time. Cracks typically start to form on the outside or inside edges of the track and should be repaired right away to prevent further damage. If the cracks are in the upper base of the track, this can typically be repaired with patching. If the cracks go deeper, there may be an asphalt or subbase issue, which would need a larger repair.  Cracks going into the asphalt could mean that it’s time to remove all of the track surface and investigate what’s going on below.


To conclude, you can save yourself from a lot of headache down the road if your track is installed professionally to begin with. With these basic maintenance tips and care of your running tracks, you can have a track that can last beyond 20 years. Take care of your track, and take care of your athletes by trusting the experts at Byrne & Jones. Give us a call at (314) 254-9766.

Click here to check out some of our completed projects, or check out our Sports Construction Instagram.