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Local school fields, tracks open for all as long as damage remains minimal

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jun 26, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — The track at East High School is one of the area's most beautiful, but the Salt Lake City School District needs help keeping it that way.

Public high school tracks are the place many get their workouts in, with many also enjoying the view at stunning locations like East.

"We want the community here, and it's good to have other people on-site and using them, but again it comes down to using it responsibly and treating it like you want it to last," explained Isaac Astill, the district's Executive Director of Auxiliary Services.

Visiting collegiate distance runner, Sierra Basco, says public schools where she's from in New York don't allow people to use the track the same way the district does here.

"It's nice to see that so many people are able to use the facilities," she said.

Astill would like to keep the track, as well as tennis court and fields, open for all, but adds that the community's help is needed to maintain the facilities. 

"The one behind me is our natural soccer field and we've experienced a lot of damage on it of people coming and moving equipment around, sliding the goal post around and they've actually set them on top of sprinklers," he explained. 

In the last year, the district has spent $16,000 in taxpayer money on repairs. Damage to the tracks and fields also creates an injury risk for student-athletes.

"Any little divot, any challenges of grass that's been damaged or is dead because the sprinklers weren't working, those all cause unevenness in the fields and create a risk for them," said Astill.

The school district wants the community to know they are welcome, but they're asking users to be mindful so everyone can continue to enjoy the facilities.

"If somebody sees something, say something," asked Astill. "Report it to the district or police if it's after hours. Our goal is to just keep them in good working condition."

District officials also added that these facilities are used by student-athletes year-round, and the teams and students have priority. If members of the public see sports teams using the field, they are asked to come back at a different time.