WINSLOW — The municipal track is up and running.

After two years dormant, two months of reconstruction and $200,000 in funding, the track is back and Winslow High School students are putting it through its paces.

Under a clear autumn sky Thursday afternoon, the cross-country team ran on the new surface for the very first time. Their sneakers made squeaking noises on the spongy rubber surface.

Senior Molly Schassberger was enthusiastic about the trial run. Catching her breath after a series of laps, Schassberger recalled the poor condition of the previous surface, which she said is partly responsible for an injury during her freshman year.

“I got a stress fracture during my last race on this track,” she said. “It’s cool that in my senior year we finally have a new one that I can race on.”

The original track, which opened in 1986, was a victim of neglect. It required resurfacing every 10 years, but it was resurfaced only once, in 1996. As a result, the rubber surface wore away, and the asphalt beneath deteriorated. The school suspended competitive meets two years ago.

In early July, the town council authorized the town to borrow up to $200,000 for the project, and work began two weeks later. Site excavation and preparation was performed by town employees and a local contractor. Maine Tennis & Track — a surfacing company based in Gray — paved the track with asphalt and adding a rubber surface. The final project was about $7,000 over budget, which will come from the school district.

Town Manager Mike Heavener said Thursday the track, which is a popular walking spot for residents, is now open to the public, even though some grass seeding remains to be done.

Cross-country coach Jared Goldsmith said he has residents have returned to the track this week for their laps.

“Anything that encourages people to get outside and move around is a good thing for the whole community,” he said.

Doug Carville, Winslow High School principal, said the maintenance schedule for the track will be closely watched to prevent deterioration.

“It’s going to be a really nice facility for the town and it’s really going to enhance our athletic program,” he said.

The school will host its first home meet in two years this spring.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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