By: Tara Blue

Construction on the new Southern Boone High School track began today, Friday April 12th in agreement with the $3 million dollar bond issue approved by voters in April 2022. The project is estimated to be completed in three weeks depending on weather conditions.

The money from the bond issue is being used to repair and improve high school facilities, including resurfacing the track, installing new turf on the football/soccer field, and fixing drainage and erosion issues around the field.

Past drainage and erosion issues. Photo credit: Southern Boone Schools

Project Delays

The football/soccer field upgrade began last summer and was completed during the fall. According to project manager Jim Russell’s report to the school board in August, the asphalt portion of the track was then scheduled to be complete by the end of the month, depending on the weather. The next step would be to install the rubber portion of the track surface.

In his September report, Russell told the school board he was recently made aware that to properly finish the rubber portion of the track surface, certain conditions would need to be met. Specifically, temperatures could not drop below 45 degrees and the rubber would need to cure and dry out for at least three weeks, during which there could be no foot traffic allowed on the track and field.

The board was “surprised” to hear this necessary criteria and Board Member Chris Felmlee asked Russell if there was any other type of material besides rubber that could be used which would dry more quickly. Felmlee said that realistically speaking, temperatures will not be above 45 degrees at that time of the year. Russell responded that the materials for the rubber product had already been secured and it would be in the school’s best interest to use it.

Construction begins on the rubber portion of the track

In Russell’s October report to the board, there were repairs to be made on the north and south ends of the asphalt but the reason for the repairs was not clear. In November, Russell told the school board that the crews were not able to complete the repairs until November 6th. The earliest date that the rubber surface could be laid was Dec. 4th.

The school district decided that to ensure appropriate installation of the rubber surface, the project would need to be postponed until the spring.

In a statement released on Thursday, April 11th, Southern Boone School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Roth says “our construction team and district administration have provided updates to the Board of Education during regular board meetings over the past six months. During those meetings, there were lengthy discussions on whether to wait until this summer or start the track surface project this spring when the minimum temperature requirement allowed the project to proceed. It was ultimately decided by all parties to begin the project this spring when the weather allowed.”

The project was categorized as top priority by the construction company when the weather allowed for completion. As the project resumed today, it requires that the track not be used while being resurfaced and therefore halts all sports events.


Although the decision to restart construction in the spring was made months ago, many girls’ soccer parents say they were unaware of the adjusted timeline and took to social media to air out their grievances.

Soccer parent Joy Ahern says parents didn’t receive any communication until Wednesday, April 10th when they were given a 24-hour notice that their game on the following day would be the last home game of the season.

Ahern says it’s not fair to the female soccer players that the contractor is restarting construction at this point of the season. Ahern says the team was planning special home game events, including a senior night and a “Pink Out” fundraiser game to support Sadie Robinett’s family, and says that construction should have been pushed back to June 1st to not impact the girls’ soccer season.

Another soccer parent Jessie Danielle agreed with Ahern and questioned whether the district is discriminating against a girls’ sport. Both Ahern and Danielle say that the district protected the boys and avoided impacting the boys’ sport seasons.

Uncertainty about the turf field and soccer goals’ completion pushed back the boys’ soccer opening game last year on August 25th against Kirksville. Furthermore, the high school track and field team has been practicing in New Bloomfield and is not scheduled to have any home events this season.

In the released statement, Roth says they are “hopeful that completing the track surface project in April rather than waiting until this summer, will allow both the girls soccer team and the track and field team the opportunity to use the completed facility towards the end of the spring sports season.”

Roth says that the district is grateful that the girls’ soccer team has been able to host three home games this season and notes that none of the girls’ soccer games will be canceled but rather moved to a different location. Finally, Roth says the district has been in close communication with the spring sports coaches concerning the project timeline and apologized for the lapses in communication between some of the coaches to the student-athletes and their parents.

Several parents took offense and interpreted the statement as placing the blame on the coaches for miscommunication.

The district says that extending the timeline of the project is not feasible due to the constraints of the materials involved and the schedule and timing of the subcontractors, which could push the project into the next school year. The district hopes to complete the track surface project in April rather than delaying until summertime to allow both the girls soccer team and track and field team the opportunity to use the completed facility towards the end of the spring sports season. At this time, graduation will still take place at the football/soccer field.

The monthly school board meetings begin at 6:30pm and are listed on the district website. If you are unable to attend the meetings, the agendas and a live-video recording are available on the district’s website.