Kaneland High School's track left in limbo as board focuses on parking

The Kaneland Unit District 302 school board decided this week to focus money on Kaneland High School's parking and bus lots instead of resurfacing the school's track that previously has been deemed unsafe by some parents and athletes.

On Monday, the board voted 5-1 to seek bids to sealcoat and repair the south and west parking and bus lots for an estimated cost of $500,000. The capital project will take place next summer in 2024.

All present board members agreed to the vote except Aaron McCauley. Board member Aaron Lawler was absent.

"We're kicking the bucket down the road," McCauley said. "My position is not to put my hope in the referendum."

Sarah Nosek, an Elburn resident and Kaneland parent, spoke after the vote. She said the track was resurfaced in 1997 and should be done every seven to 10 years.

"My heart is sick about it," Nosek said. "Every single time, the answer is postpone it."

Associate Superintendent Julie-Ann Fuchs made her own public statement during the meeting.

"We've been holding off as long as we can," Fuchs said. "The track needs to be replaced."

However, Fuchs recommended, along with the administration, to wait. She spoke about the district's "quandaries" with the cost to resurface the track about $600,000 and the possibility of a referendum to have a new track and stadium.

Meanwhile, there have been repairs made this summer to the track for about $30,000, which the board had labeled previously as putting a "Band-Aid" on it. Fuchs said the track will be re-striped in a couple of weeks.

Fuchs wrote in a report that the repairs "should help for two to three years."

Nosek said she visited the track on Monday.

"I'm already seeing the bubbles," Nosek said. "I'm seeing the chips. ... One of the big cracks that was done is starting to re-crack."

She cautioned the problem is not just cracks and holes.

"It's the surface loses its spring and return force," Nosek said. "And our students and athletes are more likely to get stress fractures and other impact kind of injuries."

The revisiting of the track situation came after the board approved most of the capital projects except the high school's parking and bus lots and track at its May 31 meeting.

Fuchs said the bus lot asphalt is sinking under the weight of buses.

She said that, during the winter, there are "pools of water" and ice, which makes it slippery, and drivers could fall. She agreed this is a safety issue, and bus drivers have been injured where they could not work.

Anthony Moreno, an Elburn resident, spoke on students wearing their Kaneland black and white school colors and hoodies with pride.

"You got a lot of winners at Kaneland High School," Moreno said. "With your vote, you've kind of showed them where they are prioritized in your agendas."

The board will have to decide whether to have a referendum in March or November next year to address getting a new track and what the next steps would be if it fails.

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