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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – No longer will Bert Bowes Middle School students have to run on a dirt track after an over $500,000 investment.

According to a BC Games release, the school and its Parent Advisory Council (PAC) receive d$348,587 from School District 60 a few years ago for the track revitalization project. An additional $190,000 was raised by the PAC.

The Fort St. John 2020 BC Winter Games Legacy Committee also contributed $100,000 to support the upgrade. In total, the project cost $538,587.

Construction began in 2019, and work completed on the track includes an elevated foundation, upgraded long-jump pits and asphalt surfacing, with the track lines to be installed in the next couple of months.

PAC vice-president, Curtis Whitford, brought his concerns surrounding the over 60-year-old dirt track to SD 60 Superintendent Stephen Petrucci.

Whitford brought up quality issues with the track compared to athletes at schools with better facilities.

After Petrucci was presented the challenges, the district provided the school and the PAC funding through its annual facilities grant.

“What I’m most proud about is the way this community and region at large came together to make this a reality, around the idea of providing a better future for our own,” said Whitford in a BC Games release. “It was a complete group effort. Without the collectivism of our community, and the BC Winter Games coming through Fort St. John, this would not have been possible.”

The PAC raised $12,000 over their $190,000 goal, which went towards sports equipment and additional storage.

Signage has also been installed along with the tracks soccer pitch. The City of Fort St. John invested $60,993 for the infield.

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