Track Renovation Continues into Summer 2016


Radford’s athletic track field is still under construction. Its completion date was delayed due to contamination issues. “The main disadvantage [of this] is not having a home site for our football, soccer, and track teams to practice and host games,” Principal James Sunday said. (Photo by Alexa Conrad)

Alexa Conrad, Editor

Radford’s athletic track was made up of dirt based lanes, and its neighboring patchy grass fields were sorely outdated. In late 2013, the school’s athletic track field underwent renovations. But, unexpected problems surfaced and years later, the completion date is now slated for July 2016.

Principal James Sunday said that several agencies are working to complete the athletic field.

“The Navy Facilities (NAVFAC) are responsible for remediation of the track area to make it safe to work. The MEI (contractor) will be installing the track, and the Department of Education Facilities Branch monitors the planning and work schedule,” he said.

A major source of construction delay occurred when they hit contaminated soil. When the dirt track was dug up, debris and contamination lay below the track’s surface.

“The area the track sits on was a former military dump site,” Principal Sunday said. “Upon initial start of construction, there was concern with the soil the contractor was digging up.”

According to Sunday, this wasn’t the only problem that stood in the way of construction.

“In addition, there was heavy debris in the site, of which consisted of items that resembled munitions and discarded explosive fuses,” he said.Due to contamination issues dealing with the site, the completion date has been moved to July 2016.”

The absence of an athletic track field has forced sports teams to be flexible. Football and soccer scheduled practices in other areas on campus. Teams coordinated with each other to determine which areas of the school would be used on specific days.

“The main disadvantage is not having a home site for our football, soccer, and track teams to practice and host games,” Principal Sunday said.

One sport feeling the absence of this school’s resource is the track team. Over the past two years, the team redirected its practices to fields in other schools.

“We have to go off campus at another school for practices,” track coach and Physical Education teacher Elizabeth Patton said.

This can be tasking for those athletes, as they are expected to provide their own transportation to the off campus sites.

Students also noticed they have trouble focusing on their practices, due to distractions. Sharing the track field with the home team from other schools have led to embarrassing incidents of student conflict.

Athlete Ben Cooper (11) feels he is being denied the experience by having a home track field.

“It’s not fair to any student playing a sport,” Cooper said, so “this [track] needs to be finished.”

The delay has also been expensive for the school.

With rising transportation costs, being on the road every game has been a challenge for our athletic budget over the past two years,” Principal Sunday said.

Despite the hit to the budget, Sunday sees the silver lining, and said, “The positive is our coaches and athletes are overcoming this adversity and becoming more resilient playing on the road each game.”

Some also feel that they are losing opportunities from the absence of the track, and that it has taken too long to repair it.

“This is my first year at Radford, and I came from a school with a track field. I feel that we need one sooner, the project should be done by now,” Steven Ahlstrom (9) said.

Physical Education students and teachers are also feeling the effect of this delay. While Patton agrees that it’s “challenging for us to do runs,” she was quick to add, “we made it work.”

Sunday said, “For our students and PE classes it has limited having a track for lessons and the use of the field for other planned events. [However], our PE teachers have been very creative in designing running routes and other activities without the full use of the track and field area.”