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Muskego High School track to remain closed to public

Committee decides track, football field not designed for high level of community traffic

Dec. 9, 2012

Muskego - Because of the risk of damage or injury, the high school track should remain closed to the public, the Business Services and Human Resources Committee of the Muskego-Norway School Board decided Dec. 3.

The track's life could be shortened by bicycles, skateboards and even strollers rolling over it, said Gary Rosploch, supervisor of buildings and grounds. Another concern is the hazard posed by the watering system for the football field in the center of the track. Little children could be injured by the high-pressure irrigation system, he said.

Another factor in the committee's decision was the many miles of trails Muskego already provides for walking and jogging.

A resident suggested possibly opening up the high school track to the public.

Rosploch said about a third of the high schools he surveyed open their tracks to the public. But the tracks are rubberized and less susceptible to damage and the football fields in the center of the tracks are artificial turf.

Muskego's field is grass and needs water, fertilizing, pesticide treatments, aeration and overseeding, Rosploch said, adding that some of those treatments could harm little children.

The water cannons, for example, throw water 100 feet.

"There would be a devastating effect if somebody tries to get a drink with his mouth," Rosploch said.

Similarly, the running track doesn't have the same type of surface that schools that invite the public in have, he said.

The Muskego High School track was resurfaced in 2007, with five new layers of material laid for $72,000. Spot maintenance probably won't be needed until 2016, Rosploch said.

But that could be moved up if skateboards, inline skates, strollers or bicycles start rolling along the track.

In view of the track's vulnerability and the hazards the football field poses, Dean Strom, committee chairman, said supervision would have to be provided, and that would cost money.

Rosploch said that one of the schools he surveyed also had security concerns even without a grass football field and different composite running track and installed a camera to keep an eye on things.

The committee briefly considered a turnstile that would keep out bicycles and strollers, but that was deemed insufficient to solve the entire problem.

With the city having so many trails, the committee opted not to expose the school to potential problems.

"There may be a legitimate reason," for opening the track up, said School Board committee member Brett Hyde, "but until we see the reason, I don't see this as an issue."

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