Marfa High School completes construction on new track, sets rules for public use 

MARFA — Construction on Marfa High School’s brand new six-lane track is finally complete, and the district is working on publicizing the rules for the new facility, which will be open to the public.

If well-maintained, said Athletic Director Linda Ojeda at this week’s school board meeting, the track should last well into the future. Rules will be displayed publicly via signage on site, said Ojeda. 

“People in the community have a really good idea of how important this [track] is right here and also what we need to do to take care of it,” said Ojeda. “I’m not concerned about individuals from the community not taking care of it, because I think right now they’re the ones who are heavily invested in it.” 

Ojeda did note that if the district experienced repeated public infractions they would have to make the necessary decision to close the track to the public. 

In order to ensure the track wears down evenly across lanes over time, the public is asked to run and walk only on the outermost lanes — five and six. Footwear that will not be permitted on the new track includes softball and baseball cleats and high heels. 

Wheels, including bikes, strollers, rollerblades and skateboards, will not be allowed, as their texture can lead to the removal of the track’s polyurethane coating, said Ojeda. Pets of any kind will not be allowed. The long jump and the triple jump areas are also not to be used as sandboxes, said Ojeda. 

Problematic snacks, forbidden because they could damage the track’s porous rubber surface, include gum, sunflower seeds and Skittles — which can melt, harden and be impossible to extract without also removing a portion of the track surface, experts told Ojeda. 

The public open hours for the track will be seasonal and are yet to be fully finalized, but during the school year members of the public will not be permitted to use the track during school hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for student safety. The school may opt to cover up the track for protection during special events and has factored in a designated concrete slab area for the ambulance to park during athletic events.

In January, the school board voted to spend $926,000 on the new track citing safety concerns over the old track and construction officially began this past March. The track’s continued maintenance will see the school board spending a recommended $5,000 to $12,000 every year or every other year for track cleaning and $245,000 every 10 to 12 years to retop. The track, complete with a high jump area, pole vault runway, long jump, triple jump as well as shotput and discus rings, will allow for the school district to host regional track meets.