Northern Marianas Sports Association was told that the resurfacing work at the Oleai Sports Complex’s track oval may be done mid May.
“The contractor (Tang’s Corporation) said that in about six weeks we may get the track back,” said NMSA staff Elias Rangamar, who also talked to the two experts that visited the island last week to see if the track resurfacing work is being done according to international standards.
“The specifications are being followed and everything is in order. I just hope the weather will cooperate in the next six weeks so we will have the new track in the second week of May,” Rangamar added.
All the materials for the resurfacing work are already on island and the track will retain is reddish color, not blue as earlier planned. Yesterday, Tang’s Corporation workers were cleaning the first layer of the coating and soon asphalt will be poured around the eight-lane track.
“The next step would be leveling after the asphalt work is done, then the padding and placing of the rubber particles. Lots of cleaning is also required,” said Rangamar.
Once the resurfacing work is completed, NMSA, which is the caretaker of the facility, will impose stricter rules on the track usage. The association will also talk to various sports federations using the facility to ensure that the new track and its surrounding areas will be maintained well. A barrier will be put in the first six lanes, which are only for training purposes, while runners/walkers will have to use the other lanes.
“We could not prevent them from using the track, but they just have to be more responsible and observe rules. We have to keep the track in good shape because before we knew it, 2021 is here and we will be hosting the Pacific Mini Games. Also, we want to ensure the longevity of the track so it’s really important for everyone to cooperate and use the facility properly,” Rangamar added.
Meanwhile, with the track completion still scheduled mid May, Northern Marianas Athletics has to look for an alternate venue for the 2017 Public School System/McDonald’s All Schools Athletics Championships and its series of qualifiers.
Rangamar, who is also an NMA official, said they are still waiting to get permission from Hopwood Junior High School officials to use the Hilitai field for both the qualifiers and the actual tournament. Once they have the go ahead, invitations will be forwarded to both private and public schools (elementary, middle school, and high school). NMA is planning to have the qualifiers for two weeks, beginning on April 20, while the championship is scheduled for three days in the second week of May.