MENA – January 29, 2018 – At the January 23rd regular monthly school board meeting, Mena Superintendent, Benny Weston, announced that Mena Public Schools received a $200,000 contribution from the Bob Carver Charitable Trust. This donation has been deemed by the Bob Carver Charitable Trust to be used for renovations, additions, and improvements to Bearcat Stadium. With the contribution directed to be used exclusively toward Bearcat Stadium improvements, the members of the Mena School Board have determined that the immediate needs for the stadium at this time are resurfacing the track, replacing the stadium’s perimeter fencing, and press box refurbishment.
In last Tuesday’s meeting, board members approved to use $106,220 of the contribution to resurface the track at Bearcat Stadium this spring. With this amount, the entire track perimeter will be resurfaced, that will also include repainting of all lines and markings, as well as certification of the track. One area of need that will be repaired in the process will be leveling a low-lying dipped area of the track that is approximately eight feet in length and 28.5 feet wide.
With the $106,220 approved for the track resurfacing, this is comprised of $81,138 for the track being repaired and resurfaced, and $25,082 to upgrade the track surface to the BSS 200RE System. This upgrade will create an impermeable surface on the track, and is projected to extend the original life expectancy of the new track surface from 6-8 years to 10-12 years. The new track perimeter, once resurfaced, will be track red in color, replacing the current black surface that has been in place since its original installation.
Beynon Sports Surfaces Inc., of Wichita, Kansas, will be handling the track resurfacing, and while no specific date is scheduled for the resurfacing to begin, Bearcat Stadium is on Beynon Sports Surfaces’ schedule for this spring. Beynon has completed track projects at Waldron High School and Ashdown High School, and will be completing the track project at Mineral Springs before beginning the Bearcat Stadium track. Following a period of five consecutive days of temperatures above 50 degrees, Beynon can begin the track project at Bearcat Stadium.
Once the track is resurfaced and certified, Bearcat Stadium will be eligible to host track meets again. Bearcat Stadium has not hosted a track meet in the last ten years.
The second item of priority that will be improved with the allotted monies will be replacing the fencing around the perimeter of Bearcat Stadium. According to Mena Superintendent Benny Weston, replacing the fencing will fulfill multiple needs that have been discussed for several years by he and the Mena School Board. New fencing will allow for more controlled access points with the entrances around the stadium perimeter that are currently in place. It will also be an opportunity to upgrade the aesthetics of the fencing that has been in place since the stadium’s original construction. The new perimeter fencing will be the black coated chain link material that is also used at the Mena baseball and softball complex. According to Weston, bids are still being secured for the fencing project.
Once the current perimeter fencing at the stadium is removed, it will be taken to the Mena Schools Transportation Complex where it will eventually be put up around the perimeter. This fencing will provide limited access and security for that location. This will be able to fulfill an overall facilities goal.
With the track and fencing improvements, these upgrades will benefit community members and Mena students for years to come.
“Almost every student who comes through Mena Schools uses the track and stadium in their school career,” Weston said. “This stadium is used for so much more than school functions, though. It’s a venue the entire community uses.”
The stadium is used for school and community events. Examples of school events include Physical Education classes, band, cheer, track, soccer, football, Senior Night, graduation, and Special Olympics. Examples of community events include community walking track, PT tests for Armed Forces recruits, Forest Service and Emergency Personnel operations, Fields of Faith, Easter Sunrise Community Service, and many other community events.
“Year in and year out, the Mena High School Performing Arts Center and Bearcat Stadium serve as hosts to some of the biggest functions held at Mena Public Schools,” Weston said. “It’s imperative that we make and keep these locations accommodating, safe, and fully functioning facilities. The Mena High School Performing Arts Center is in excellent condition, so at this time, we have a need for improvement at our Bearcat Stadium facility.”
Other upgrades that were already scheduled to take place this summer are improvements to the restrooms at Bearcat Stadium. Other areas that have been considered for the use of these donated funds include refurbishing the press box as well as improvements to the interior fencing.