Second in a series of dream-scapes for athletic construction: Track & Field
As we were preparing to enter the Big Ten, we did several pieces on Rutgers' facilities and how they compared to other B1G schools. We looked at Track & Field/Field Hockey back in July. It was a pretty ugly picture of facilities that barely were high school quality. While we wait for the feasibility study to be completed, we're doing our own dream feasibilty study. And we're going indoors with track & field.
What we have...and don't have
We have the bubble. It's a place where everyone can get indoors to practice. Including the band. But it's only one facility and it isn't meant for spectators. First erected when Dick Anderson was the football coach (1984-89) - and intended first and foremost for football - it is a remnant, a throwback if you will, of early indoor practice facilities. When the Giants needed a place to practice when Jim Fassel was their coach, they used Rutgers' bubble. He was so pleased with it, he had the Giants build one for their own. Fassel hasn't been the Giants' coach since 2003. We still have a bubble.
Marching Band rehearsing prior to the Super Bowl last February
The bubble was a great solution then. But not today. Having only the bubble means we can't have track competitions at home. It means multiple teams need to schedule use of the facility, causing scheduling conflicts and limited practices. It means we have a second class facility.
The other schools?
Take ttfp....please (ba dum bump). This is their multisport indoor facility. From their website:
The new facility, near the outdoor track on Porter Road, includes a 200-meter track with spectator seating and amenities.
It also has basketball courts, locker rooms, a strength training room and storage, a turf field, and serves both the new indoor and the existing outdoor tracks. Both the men's and women's track teams practice and compete in this facility, which is also accessible to a variety of other college sports.
And then Nebraska's Devaney Center Indoor Track
One of four hydraulic-banked tracks in the nation and one of eight in the world, NU’s 200-meter track has the largest radius (67 feet) of any indoor-banked track in the world. The Devaney Center can accommodate up to 5,000 fans and has previously played host to the Big 12 Indoor Championships nine times and hosted the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships. It marked the first time in conference history that the men's and women's championships were hosted at the same site.
Prior to the start of the 2011 season, the Devaney Center Indoor Track went under a major renovation that included a resurfacing of track by Mondo. A brand new video and scoreboard were also installed along with new lighting throughout the facility to brighten the track. New seating was installed prior to the start of the 2012 season.
What we need to do....dream version
Build, baby, build. Our existing track and field hockey facility (outdoor) is hardly a showplace. It's hardly a facility. So we need to upgrade....bigtime. You build a new Indoor Track Facility with related training/locker/office facilities. It is adjacent to/connected to a new outdoor track (and maybe field hockey) stadium. The indoor facility must have an indoor field for training and competition. The outdoor track facility includes lights, enhanced spectator seating and amenities (no porta potties!), concessions, press box, and scoreboard.
Where to put it?
You've already got the track in place so you build it adjacent to the existing track. Like this:
Or build it across the street adjacent to the RAC, connecting facilities there:
Is this all a crazy pipe dream?
Am I crazy for thinking all this? Maybe. But it's not like these facilities don't exist in other places. If you're going to compete, if you're going to try to be the best, then you need to have better facilities. Look what happened when money was put into football -- right, Dave? Things happen. The same needs to be done across the board in all sports. An indoor facility like this could greatly help track and field, and likely other sports as well.
The floor is open for discussion.