It’s been less than three years since California State University, Sacramento unveiled its $1.5 million, state-of-the-art track at Hornet Stadium, and the university is already having issues with the surface’s condition, according to court documents.
In a lawsuit filed in March, the university said the main athletic track and practice track, both of which were installed May 2014 by Mondo USA, began to “experience considerable fading [and] staining” months after it was installed.
"The University is continuing to work with Mondo to address our concerns," according to a statement made to ABC10 from Sac State.
According to court documents, the CSU Board of Trustees, which presides over the university, is suing for an undisclosed amount of money to cover “economic loss and damages” that resulted from the tracks’ conditions.
“Sacramento State has become a favored site for hosting national and international track and field competitions,” the complaint said, “a status that is seriously jeopardized by the faded, stained and otherwise wholly unacceptable condition and appearance of both the main athletic track and the warm-up track.”
At the track’s unveiling in 2014, former Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez said the city and school were getting a “world-class venue without the use of state education dollars and tuition fees.”
As part of a deal with the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, through the Sacramento Sports Commission, Sac State fronted $1.5 million for the eight-lane, 400-meter track and the warmup track in 2014, and would be paid back in installments.
University officials told ABC10 the $1.5 million loan came from an auxiliary fund, and not from the school’s general fund, which comes from, in part, student fees and tuition.
According to Mike Sophia, the sports commission’s director, the SSC committed to $1.2 million to the track and would pay back the university in five, $240,000 annual installments. The remaining cost of the track was covered by money made from track and field events.
Hornet Stadium hosted the 2014 Outdoor Championship and the 2016 Junior Olympics, and is scheduled to host the 2017 Outdoor Championships in June.
“There has been some issues relative to the coloring of the track that the university is working through with Mondo,” Sophia said of the track, “but, aside from that, it has been a great investment.”
The commission’s final payment is scheduled for late 2018, Sophia said.
According to the complaint, Mondo USA told university officials that the condition of the track was because of poor upkeep by the school’s maintenance staff, and not because of the installation or defective track material.
Previous university budget reports show Sac State spent at least $150,000 from 2014 to 2016 to “add protective covering” to the track and other equipment to protect it from any damage when it’s not in use.
As part of the lawsuit, Sac State said Mondo USA broke the warranty after it failed to fix the track. The track is under a five-year warranty, though it’s not clear if the fading is covered, too.
According to a copy of the warranty obtained by ABC10 News, Mondo USA would repair or replace the track “in the event of a manufacturing defect” that effects the performance of the track, but not the aesthetics.
Both Mondo USA and Sac State have tried to fix the fading through cleaning and treatment, but the nothing has worked.
In the complaint, Sac State said the proposed fixes the track from Mondo USA were ineffective and “turned out to be dangerous to athletes and others who use the tracks.”
Mondo USA did not respond to ABC10 News’ request for comment.