“… And at the tape, the winner is …. Paint Rock”, a familiar statement at track meets for decades now. Paint Rock recently finished sixth last week in the 1A Boys Cross Country State Championship Meet. Paint Rock has consistently placed students in the State meets in both Cross Country and Track, including outstanding performances in Girls State Cross Country, Boys State Cross Country, 200 Meter Dash (State Championship), 110 Girls Hurdles, 100 Meter Dash, Long Jump, High Jump, Triple Jump, 400 Meter Run, 400 Meter Relay, 800 Meter Run, 800 Meter Relay, Mile Relay, 3200 Meter Run,… for over 50 years now. It’s a championship tradition in Paint Rock…. and all without having a truly modern asphalt track of their own.
Paint Rock ISD’s “track” has consisted of a patch of gravel and overgrown grass since the school was started in 1887. Every so many years the school would replace the gravel or dirt and maybe grade the track but it was still dirt and gravel…. and Paint Rock athletes just kept winning. They would run their hearts out around their home “track” and the dirt covered streets of Paint Rock. Then they would go practice or compete at other schools’ tracks. Since the Paint Rock track was longer than the 400 Meters that other tracks are, Paint Rock’s athletes would see improved times from the times recorded on their “home” track. They also learned a valuable lesson from running on dirt and gravel… if you run faster than everyone else, if you lead the pack,… you don’t have to eat and breath their dust… Instead, let them breath your dust.
Over the years, Paint Rock athletes have “borrowed” the tracks of other nearby schools after their schools athletes completed their own workouts. Schools like Veribest, Eden, Ballinger, Winters, San Angelo, KOA hills (San Angelo), Spring Creek (San Angelo), Concho River, and Angelo State University have all seen Paint Rock athletes practice on their courses or tracks. It’s hard to practice track, especially the hurdles, long jump, triple jump, and the pole vault when your “home track” does not have a pit, a runway,… or lanes for that matter. The track and cross country athletes at Paint Rock have run up and down the streets of Paint Rock that the routes have taken on a language and life of their own. “The Church mile” is a specific route that takes the kids by and around three of the town’s churches. The “Dump Road”, “Tennis 1/2 mile” and “River Run” are but a few of the other courses around Paint Rock designed to both challenge the runners and protect them from hazards, pot holes, dogs, etc.. The Paint Rock athletes are such a common sight out running that they even have made up their own team T-shirts and slogans such as “We Run this Town…” and “Faster than a small town rumor”,…
There is nothing like a long run down a dirt road or gravel track to make you dream about… running on a new eight lane asphalt track.
Now the dream will be a reality.
Information on the new PRISD track:
- The track will be eight lanes and UIL regulation size and shape. When completed, it will be the only 8 lane track in our present UIL track district with most of the other schools having 7 lane tracks. Prior to construction being completed, only Paint Rock and Olfen ISD were without qualified tracks in our current track UIL district.
- The new red track will be placed around the existing PRISD football field. As the red in the track fades, it should take on a more maroon color. Paint Rock High School’s colors are maroon and white. The surface of the track should make this track one of the best tracks in the area, probably only second to the track at ASU for quality and endurance.
- New red runways for high jump, long jump, pole vaulting, and triple jump will also be constructed on site, as well as new shot put and discus rings.
- The track is being built by Hellas Construction. Hellas has built several tracks in West Texas including the tracks at Santa Anna ISD and Angelo State University, as well as dozens of others.
- Ground breaking on the site was originally scheduled for November 18, 2019, but was delayed until a City of Paint Rock water line that goes under the “footprint” of the proposed track can be bypassed. Work is expected to begin soon on relocating that water line. A supply/pipe storage area has already been established southeast of the football field.
- The water line bypass project is being done at school district expense by Underground Commercial Environmental which was recently awarded the contract by the Paint Rock ISD Board of Trustees. Although Underground Commercial Environmental has done most of its work in the Houston and San Angelo area, Paint Rock native Ben Borrego is in charge of this project. Recently they completed the Ener-tel facility in San Angelo.
- In order to make way for the new track, the district is moving some storage buildings and football stands. The main stands on both the home and visitor sides of the football field are being torn down. Their deteriorating condition did not allow for them to be salvaged or saved. Some parts of the large stands will be scraped for use in the PRISD ag department. The main stands will eventually be replaced by modern aluminum stands similar to those on the visitor side at Water Valley ISD or Veribest ISD. The smaller stands will be moved temporarily and moved back into their new locations after the track is completed. A local firm was awarded the contract to move and/or tear down the various bleachers. The school board has yet to award a contract to build or assemble the new bleachers and probably won’t take any action on the matter until
- The old concession stand, which has not been used since 2011, will be torn down since it is directly in the path of the proposed new track. For the foreseeable future, football concessions will continue to be sold out of the west side of the basketball concession stand as has been the case for the past eight years.
- The old poles and football lights are also coming down because most of them are in the “footprint” of the new track. The poles should start coming down the first week of December. Eventually, these lights will be replaced by brighter, more energy efficient lighting that will better light, not just the football field, but the track, parking areas, and the other parts of the complex. This should make the area an excellent and safe place for athletes, students, and community members to walk and workout at light. The bids to take down these poles, as well as install the new lighting at both the football field and track have been awarded to Ballinger/San Angelo firm, Intrepid Electric. Intrepid Electric recently completed rewiring and electrical projects for the district that both improve the lighting on campus and the cost effectiveness of all the campus’ lighting saving the district tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the project.
- Currently, fencing that might get in the way of the construction is being relocated elsewhere. It is being taken down and moved to temporary storage for later use when the construction of the track is complete. Much of what is being taken down will be put up in a new location outside the track when the project is complete.
- Originally, work was to begin on November 18, and be completed by mid-March, 2020. The re-routing of the water line has considerably delayed the actual start of construction, but the school district has taken measurers to get the construction back on track and hopefully the track can be completed sometime in April or May of 2020, barring any more delays.