Work on resurfacing and improving drainage at the Brauerander athletics track is set to get under way within months after flooding caused more than $1 million in damage.
The one-in-100-year flood in January 2020 caused the surface to crack, and it took 12 months of negotiations with the insurance company to come up with the $1.15 million needed to cover the cost of repairs.
But the works were delayed after the Department of Education - who holds the 50-year lease on the land - insisted on more drainage works.
Former Brauer College principal Duncan Stalker - who was instrumental in getting the park built 15 years ago - said the department is set to call for tenders for the drainage work in the next month.
"What the cost of that is we don't know, but it will be expensive," Mr Stalker said.
Drainage works are expected to cost more than $500,000, he said.
Mr Stalker said getting the right design for extra drainage had caused delays with the initial plan rejected over concerns that it could damage the track in years to come. "The drainage has been a very difficult issue," Mr Stalker said.
New designs have been approved and they are hopeful work will begin in August with the resurfacing work on the track set to follow in September.
Mr Stalker said that while they have had the money to do the resurfacing work since the start of the year, it had been decided to hold off until the drainage issue had been addressed.
"We are very, very hopeful that everything will be finished in time for the start of school athletics season in February next year," Mr Stalker said.
The track has five layers, but it was just the top surface that was damaged by the one-in-100-year flood.
"You can see we are in an amphitheatre, and all the water ran down onto the track. The track has got a very expensive drainage system," Mr Stalker said
The original drainage system had to be imported from America to drain any water off the track.
"What we've got to do is to stop the water from getting onto the track in the first place and that's what the new drainage system will do," Mr Stalker said.
Vern Robson, a trustee of the Brauerander Park Foundation, said it had take a solid year of negotiations to get the $1.15 million flood insurance.
"It's a good news story but it did take us 12 months of pretty hard negotiations to get the money out of the insurance company," he said.
Mr Stalker said they had been working with Western Victoria MP Gayle Tierney on the project.
"We are grateful that the department do want to put in the additional drainage," he said.
Brauerander Atheletics track was built 15 years ago costing about $4 million.
Money for the project came from the state and federal governments along with donations from local trusts and foundations and "substantial donations from Midfield Meats and others".
The land, which was initially earmarked for an industrial estate, was donated by the Alan Lane Foundation.
Mr Stalker came up with the idea for the complex after visiting America in his role as president of the Australian Principals Association.
"I was so impressed that every American high school has got an athletics track," he said.
Mr Stalker said that as a principal he had been concerned that while south-west Victoria had been very strong in sport, it was weak in athletics compared to other parts of the state.
"Every October when the state school championships came up, our kids were greatly disadvantaged against all the others," he said.
So he, Mr Robson and Andrew Anderson began working to get the facility built.
"We're very pleased and delighted with the track. There's improvements we'd like to make, but funds are, of course always difficult to get," Mr Stalker said.
"It's a regional complex. It gets enormous use."
Moyne and Warrnambool City Council make annual grant towards the operating costs, Mr Robson said.
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