By KATE WINQUIST
The home of the Lions is in need of a renovation.
Over the past number of seasons, the track around Gerry Elmslie Field hasn’t been as functional as one would like and it has been nearly impossible for students to use safely. It is unlevel, rutted and because it is not shale covered, it grows weeds and is almost indistinguishable from the field beside it.
Believing that the problems of the track needed a more permanent solution, a committee was put in place to decide what steps were needed to make the renovations a reality.
One of the committee members is grade 4 teacher and cross-country coach, Adele Kirwan. Kirwan explained some of the changes that they would like to see put in place.
“Firstly, our track is not the standard 400m – it is roughly 360m. We would like to renovate the track to make it a standard 4 or 5 lane 400m track (with a curb). In order to do this, we need to change the direction of the field/track to run more east and west, because a portion of our track is currently not on school property.”
Kirwan also pointed out that the northwest corner of the track presently slopes down. The slope was caused due to a drainage concern on that side of the building.
The renovation would include having the track graded, leveled, an inner curb put in place, and shale placed over top. In addition to this, an underground water system, and replacement the existing grass with either seed or sod would need to be done after renovations.
Of course, doing a renovation of this size includes a lot of policies and processes, but Kirwan says that a lot of the “headache stuff” has been looked after.
“We have the conceptual design and a tentative budget. Our committee will be sitting down together in the next couple of weeks to decide our next step and think about a starting date as far as construction.”
Kirwan didn’t want to give an exact dollar figure on what the renovation project would cost, but did say that the fundraising has been going well.
“This community amazes me how it comes together to get a job done … because of an insane amount hot dog sales, hot lunches, bottle/battery drives, food booths, dunk tanks, flower sales, business donations, personal donations, student worker auctions, bracelet sales, bake sales, 50/50, and Drive a Ford event; we are very proud to say we are half way there.”
Kirwan states that this renovation will benefit all of the students at the school, regardless of age.
“Our school is a Kindergarten to grade twelve building – students from all age groups use our track at various times throughout the year. Elementary students use it for play day and host soccer games in the fall, many high school students use it at lunchtime, our Phys-Ed department uses it during the year (all grades), and our track and football team use it seasonally too. As well, it would be our hope that community groups would be able to use it too.”
Students from the school will be conducting a ticket blitz on the latest fundraiser which is a 50/50 draw for $10,000 after the February break.
There are only 200 tickets sold at $100 each. As of Saturday approximately half of the tickets had been sold.
It is safe to say that the Gull Lake School renovation project is definately on the right track.
M. Kate Winquist