Two Prince William high school running tracks will soon be open to the public under a pilot program set to begin Monday, July 8.
In his budget for the coming school year, Superintendent Steven Walts included funding for the pilot program in response to numerous requests over the years from people interested in using the track for exercise. Walts made the announcement during the June 19 school board meeting.
The track at Charles J. Colgan High School, located on Va. 234 in the Independent Hill area of Manassas, will be open from 4 to 8 a.m. daily.
In the evenings, the public will be able to access the running track at Forest Park High School between 5 and 9 p.m. Forest Park is located between the Ashland and Montclair subdivisions, also off Va. 234.
Both tracks will be open both weekdays and weekends, said Diana Gulotta, school division spokeswoman.
The county’s middle school tracks will continue to be open to the public (when not in use by the school), as in they have been in the past, Gulotta said.
Beginning in August, the school division will adjust the hours based on seasonal high school sports. The changes will be advertised to the public, Gulotta said.
The effort to open the tracks originated with a request to School Board member Justin Wilk (Potomac) who first brought it to the board a year ago. His initial request died in a 3 to 5 vote due to concerns about liability and possible damage to the high school tracks, Wilk said.
Walts, however, worked out the concerns and proposed the pilot program.
Wilk said he is glad to see his proposal brought back and called the pilot program involving Colgan and Forest Park high schools “a start.”
“I believe as members of our community, the taxpayers the citizens should have the right to use the tracks in our community,” Wilk said. “… This is something I’m going to push [to expand] in the next fiscal year.”