Repairs to the track at Niskayuna High School would cost $150,000, Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. told the school board recently as he reiterated his opposition to the idea.
Tangorra has argued the board should hold off on much-needed repairs to the high school track until it can be included in a larger capital project expected to go to before voters next year.
Board members in recent months have pushed Tangorra to explore options for repairing the track sooner. Board members contend waiting to package the track repairs with a capital project referendum would mean work wouldn’t commence until spring 2022 at the earliest, entailing among other steps, architectural and engineering design and state education approval.
Instead, board members say more modest repairs could be executed more quickly; the $150,000 price-tag would pay for stripping the track surface and replacing it with a basic black covering. With those repairs, Tangorra said, the track would be available for use in the spring or the following year. The funding would have to come from the district’s general fund.
Moving ahead with those repairs in the short term, though, would complicate efforts of a broader project to potentially replace the track altogether or move its location.
“I continue to think we should not do that,” Tangorra said of the short-term track repairs. At an August board meeting, he called his recommendation against repairing the track prior to a broader capital project the strongest he has made to the school board.
“At the end of the day, I stand firm on my position,” Tangorra said.
The Niskayuna track team is planning to host its home meets at Schenectady High School in the spring, Tangorra said at Tuesday’s meeting. The district also planned to close off the track’s inside lane and continue to use the rest for practice.
At the board meeting, Tangorra said track coach Jason DeRocco also opposed moving ahead with repairs in the near term since the track would eventually be replaced in a few years. Tangorra said the board didn’t yet need to make a final decision on what to do with the track.
Few board members commented on the price of the potential repairs at their regular meeting Tuesday at which Tangorra stated his recommendation. But those that did suggested they were comfortable with waiting for the broader capital project and the longer timeline of a new track.
Gretta Jansson, who at an August meeting pressed Tangorra about the difficulty of waiting at least a couple of years before fixing the track, on Tuesday said that she was “leaning toward agreeing” that spending money on repairs sooner may not be the best plan.
Board member Rosemarie Perez Jaquith, who has also acknowledged keen interest among constituents in improving the high school track, noted the value of knowing the track coach was comfortable with waiting on repairs.
“That goes a long way,” she said of the coach agreeing it was better to wait for track upgrades.