The Palatine village council signed off this week on Palatine Township Elementary School District 15's plan to replace the track at Walter Sundling Junior High School with a new, smaller version.
The current 400-meter track, built in the 1970s, has become uneven and is in need of significant repairs, according to village documents.
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District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson said the school district board in November approved construction of a new 200-meter track at a cost of about $340,000.
According to an engineer at the firm contracted to complete the project, there is no need to replace the track with one of the same size.
"The idea was to build a state-of-the-art running track, there is no reason to have it be 400 meters; 200 meters is just fine," Mark Olesen of Ament Design said.
A 400-meter track would cost an additional $200,000 to $300,000, Olesen added.
District 15 is responsible for the project, but village approval was needed because it alters the local flood plain. According to the plan, 280 cubic feet of fill will be used to flatten and raise the new track.
With this alteration, excess rainwater will flow west of the track and wash toward the neighboring Palatine Hills Golf Course.
Brad Helms, a Palatine village council member who also works as the greens supervisor for Palatine Hills, raised concerns about whether the park district had been given adequate notice of the plan. He said he would vote for the measure, but would appreciate further communication between the course and the project planners.
Thompson said the school district worked closely with Palatine's engineering department to make sure the changes to the floodplain would comply with the law.
The vote to approve the measure was unanimous.