Resurfacing is underway on PLNU’s track, its first complete resurface since 1984.
Improvements will be made to repair sinkholes and cracks found on multiple lanes of the track.
The two month, approximately $400,000 project is set to be completed Jan. 10, said George Latter, vice president of financial affairs.
Multiple faculty members reached this decision in April of this year: Athletic Director Ethan Hamilton, Latter and Caye Smith, vice president for student development.
Steve Riddle, the assistant athletics director, is the overseer of the project. He saw the track through three surface installations in his 20 years at PLNU – once in 1994, 2000 and 2008-since its original construction in 1984.
Riddle said the track will receive an entirely new surface, unlike past years.
“This time, we had to take it down all the way to the asphalt for a couple of reasons,” said Riddle. “The track could no longer support just adding a new layer, and secondly, there are some minor sinkhole areas on the track that we needed to address.”
Latter said the money to finance the process came from a fund that has been accumulating money used for “overall campus repairs” for over ten years.
“We set aside some money from our operating budget each year into a ‘renewal replacement’ fund that helps us pay for major renovations and repairs on campus,” said Latter. “The money for the track project will come from this fund.”
The renewal replacement fund is used for other repairs as well.
“This fund is expected to be used for significant renovations and replacement, usually buildings,” said Latter. “There are no other specific projects planned for the fund at this time. We also budget money each year for regular, non-major, maintenance and repairs.”
The resurfacing came abruptly for senior Hannah Jones, a psychology major and commuter, who has used the track regularly.
“It’s an inconvenience. I am distraught. A part of me is gone,” said Jones. “I trained for a marathon on it when I used to run five days a week with two days of rest [on the weekends]. It was also a hangout time to relieve stress and talk with friends.”
For junior mid-sprinter Sarah Levesque, the construction has forced her, and the rest of the women’s track and field team, to use the grass field in the middle of the track for training.
“Usually on Wednesdays especially we have long running workouts,” said Levesque. “So we definitely need the track. We’ve had to be creative. Like I said today [Wednesday], we did sprints on the grass rather than on the track, which is good to mix it up I guess, but in the coming months we’re going to need the track as well to measure distances.”
Levesque said that there were noticeable parts of the track that needed attention.
“There was one dip near the baseball field entrance where the track and field record board is, and another raised area kind of in the same vicinity on the east side of the track,”Levesque said.
Jones said the terrain on campus is too “hilly” and “rough,” so she has to run off campus.
“Now I’ll have to be running on either Rosecrans or in La Mesa,” said Jones. “I have to find different places to run and think of my safety as well as others.”
Thus far, PLNU faculty and staff have not offered alternatives to the track during construction. However, Riddle said he would give suggestions if asked.
“Where they run is up to them. You could offer so many places; you always want it to be safe,” said Riddle. “And what may be safer to one student, may not be safe for another so I kind of leave it out there. If someone came to be specifically and said, ‘Hey, what should I do? Where should I run?,’ then I could read the situation from there and give a suggestion or two. I think that when the project is done, everybody is going to be very happy with the end result.”
Photos courtesy of Danny Barnts