Oleai track resurfacing eyed in November

Young runners compete in a qualifying race for the All Schools Championship last year at the Oleai Sports Complex ‘s track and field facility. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Young runners compete in a qualifying race for the All Schools Championship last year at the Oleai Sports Complex ‘s track and field facility. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The resurfacing of the Oleai track facility is set to begin by mid November this year, as the Northern Marianas Sports Association will be receiving a Community Development Block Grant from the Northern Mariana Housing Corp.

NMSA vice president Kurt Barnes, in a telephone interview, said aside from the track resurfacing the money will be used to replace the 4-feet fence at the southern boundary of the Oleai Sports Complex.

Barnes said they requested an amount of $400,000 to $750,000 “since there is a scarcity of experts in the Micronesian area regarding construction of tracks.

He added they have yet to receive the money from NMHC since they are in the process of completing all the necessary paperwork.

“There is a process that we have to go through. We need to finish the paperwork and also consult an architect and an engineer then begin with the bidding process to choose the construction company that will handle the resurfacing of the track,” Barnes said.

“Once we find the best one, construction will start. Hopefully, we can start by mid November and the resurfacing will need three months to complete,” he added.

The former Northern Marianas Athletics president noted that George Washington’s track and field facility in Guam was also recently resurfaced and it cost $350,000 and NMSA will need to spend $450,000 at the Oleai track to maintain its Level II rating by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

“Saipan’s track is certified as a Level II track and will continue to carry that rating. Tony Rogolifoi and I have just begun to work with Henry K. Pangelinan on starting this project,” added Barnes.

Assessment and evaluation will have to be done in one week before the NMSA can open up the bidding process for one month.

Barnes added the contractor may decide the length of time in completing the project, but most likely it may finish sometime in March.

Once the resurfacing of the track is completed, Saipan can again submit bids to host Oceania Athletics Association events, particularly the 2017 Micronesian Athletics Championships since the group has decided to revert to the old regional format.

Calls for repairing the track mounted early this month after OAA executive director Yvonne Mullins and president Geoff Gardener, along with OAA vice president Trevor Spittle and treasurer Titana Juventin, inspected and saw black patches and bubbles forming on the decades-long facility. Harsh weather conditions plus the years of use led to the deterioration of the Oleai track and field facility.

Meanwhile, with the resurfacing of the track set later this year, Barnes said NMA could now focus on the $80,000 equipment grant from OAA.

Jon Perez Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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