Campus construction brings new facilities to student-athletes

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Aiden Tacker / The Bucknellian

Michael Taromina, Contributing Writer

Any athlete knows that any athletics competition surface has a certain lifespan, and the beloved indoor track in Gerhard Fieldhouse has reached the end of its time. 

The proper life expectancy of a track surface is about 10-11 years, but the last time it was revamped was in 2008. It was planned to be resurfaced in the summer of 2020, but COVID-19 delayed the project. 

The indoor track was used for practice that year and was used for the winter of 2022. Coaches found after last year that for the purposes of safety and performance of all track and field student-athletes, as well as intramural and recreational participants, the entire floor needed to be replaced as soon as possible. 

“The surface became very hard and worn out and it caused many more lower leg injuries than we would normally get, so obviously the team and my coaching staff are very excited about the new track surface that will be ready for usage very soon,” track and field head coach Kevin Donner said. “It will look better and feel better on the legs of our runners and jumpers.”

There will be a few alterations to the new track, in terms of color and design. The previous track was orange, while this one will be blue. Additionally, the interior recreational courts will have some additional markings for sports such as pickleball and badminton, in addition to volleyball, tennis and basketball. 

The finished project is about two weeks behind the original schedule, beginning in July and set to reopen on Sep. 19. However, because the weather has stayed warm in September, students-athletes can train on the grass outdoors and the outdoor track for now, which is not an inconvenience for the program. The company in charge of all construction is named Beynon. 

“The fieldhouse has been offline since the project started. At this time of year, the biggest impact has been on the recreational side,” Jon Terry, associate director of athletics for the University, said. “From a varsity athletics standpoint, the venue is primarily used as a weather backup at this time of year.”

As the indoor track is being updated by the school’s administration, it will be used by the track and field student-athletes who, in general, seem excited about the new surface.

While the indoor track is being revamped in its layout, it is not the only one facility on campus that is being amended. Other developments include the installation of a new turf practice field adjacent to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, which is part of the Pascucci Family Complex project. 

The initial phase of the project was the installation of the video board in CMMS in August 2021. The practice field is the second phase, and the Michael C. Pascucci Team Center will be next year. 

“The gravel path around the west fields has received great reviews from our cross country runners,” Donner said. “The footing is much smoother than grass yet it’s still a soft surface which our runners like rather than asphalt.”

For more information about this project, visit the University’s athletics page

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