Track’s completion projected for July 2016


Renovations to the track has interrupted athletics and classes, and, overall, school complex. Physical Education students rotate among the gymnasium, baseball field, practice field, and basketball courts for class activities. Despite all of this, Physical Education teacher Waynette Mitchell said, “Students are really flexible.”

Lauren Galdeano, Reporter

A project to install an all weather eight-lane track was curtailed when construction crews discovered more than they anticipated. From the track site located at the back of the school, an excavator dug out a refrigerator and a truck, along with tons of debris.

“During the construction it was discovered that the ground to a certain depth was contaminated due to the fact that the area was a one time a military dump site during WWII and before,” Principal James Sunday said.

Within days of the debris discovery, the area was covered, and the soil was tested. Dirt samples came up positive for asbestos and lead.

In a KITV news report, Deputy Environmental Director Gary Gill said, “When they dug down they found what looked like old fill material and metal and debris. So, the public to our best knowledge, the students were not exposed to what was under the track, it was covered by clean soil.”

It’s been about a year into the project, and construction is expected to be completed sometime in July 2016.

While the previous track was built from dirt and cinder, at its completion, the new field will have an all grass playing surface.

“It will enable Radford to have a safe facility for our student-athletes, PE classes, and complex schools to host track meets, practices and classes,” Sunday said. “The completed track and field area will have a tremendous impact on the school in regard to an upgraded facility and the ability to host track and field events for our complex and the state.”

For now, the construction has affected athletics, classes, and, overall, school complex.

“We have not been able to host any events, games, or have practices and classes due to the construction,” Sunday said. However, “the short-term obstacles will be worth the long-term benefits the entire school, complex, and community will benefit from later when the project is complete.”

Student athletes in soccer, football, track, cross country, and even marching band have been affected.

Since the school isn’t able to host any home games, soccer player Amadou Kone (10) pointed out how his team had to adjust with a schedule of away games.

“I have to get [to Radford] early, to leave for games,” he said. To exacerbate the matter, Kone said that having games at other schools means “I usually get home after 11 [p.m.], which doesn’t leave much time to do homework.”

During practices, Kone said, “We also use the practice field and the conditions of the field are bad. After it rains, it’s muddy, then it dries up, and the dirt is hard.”

Waynette Mitchell, PE teacher, said that teachers in her department are forced to share limited areas for their students.

The absence of a track “takes away an area to run. When we have 800 [meter], 122 [meter], and mile runs we have to find other means,” she said.

Mitchell said that the PE teachers schedule four-week rotations where they take turns using the gymnasium, practice field, baseball field, and basketball courts. Mitchell said that her students used the grass area between the tennis courts and 0-building for frisbee golf.

Despite all of this, Mitchell said, “Students are really flexible.”

The track renovation is being funded by the Department of Education with money from the legislature and through military partners at Navy Facilities.