Proposed cross country course discussed

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/30/17

Jasper City Board of Education members heard a proposal Monday night to develop a cross country track on the Jasper High School campus.

Dustin Beaty, a cross country parent and member of Jasper’s running community, discussed two potential tracks that could be developed on the high school campus for the cross country team. With the permission of Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson, Beaty and others have been studying areas of land that belong to the school system and identifying what the cost would be to develop a trail.

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Proposed cross country course discussed

Posted

Jasper City Board of Education members heard a proposal Monday night to develop a cross country track on the Jasper High School campus.

Dustin Beaty, a cross country parent and member of Jasper’s running community, discussed two potential tracks that could be developed on the high school campus for the cross country team. With the permission of Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson, Beaty and others have been studying areas of land that belong to the school system and identifying what the cost would be to develop a trail.

Beaty said cross country runners have been running on pavement for the majority of their practices, which has become a safety concern.

The first proposed track is a 1.53-mile loop — roughly half of the 3.1 miles that cross country runners typically run in competition. However, Beaty said the majority of tracks they use for competitions around the state use loops, with very few designed at 3.1 miles.

“Most of the time when we go places, very rarely do we go places that you run a full 3.1-mile course,” Beaty said. “Most of the time, it’s a loop of some sort. Having a 1.53-mile loop on campus would be very adequate.”

The 1.53-mile course would be located just to the left of the school, on the land behind the parking lots.

Beaty’s second proposal was for a full course that would run behind the school campus. He said he would ideally like to go ahead and have the 1.53-mile loop completed before cross country runners begin practice at the end of the 2017-18 school year, which would provide an opportunity down the road to extend the course behind the school and create the full 3.1-mile course.

An estimated cost for the project is $30,000, and would include a 1.53-mile trail cut, optional ground coverage, benches, mileage signs and possible lighting. Beaty said just to have the land cleared would likely be less than $5,000, and the course could still be used by the school’s cross country runners.

“This is something I think would benefit our kids, our whole school in general,” Beaty said. “It would give us something for the community to be proud of.”

He said the course will be tough, but it will benefit cross country runners when they enter competitions.

Beaty also noted that students who participate in cross country always have to travel to competitions, and having a track on the school campus would allow the school system to host meets in Jasper.

“For those of you that don’t know, from a monetary standpoint, cross country — outside of football — is the second largest revenue producing sport in the state of Alabama,” Beaty said.

He said they explored locations to develop a track off campus, but an on-campus track ultimately seemed more feasible. Board of education members and Jackson reviewed proposed drawings of how each track would look during Beaty’s speech. He asked the board to consider giving permission for a feasibility study regarding the proposed courses, but no action was taken by board members at the meeting.