Eastern Track 400m Project Update
At Eastern we are coming up on the postseason for many of our fall sports teams. The cross country team will race at the state championship Saturday. The football team starts the playoffs on Friday night. Our band is competing in their final competition of the season in Chattanooga, TN.
As a cross country coach I am really excited about this weekend’s state championship meet. The state XC meet is one of my favorite days of the year, but my mind keeps wandering to springtime as I see the progress on the track and field facility!
Over the last several weeks we have seen some big time progress to the project and the next few weeks should bring a beautiful finished track to Eastern HS, the Middletown community, and the greater track community in Louisville!
As it stands at the beginning of November, all of the groundwork has been laid and most of the rubber surface has been applied. Unfortunately a very rainy last few days has put a brief pause on the progress, but we have 6 layers of rubber applied to the track and only one remaining. After the rubber surface is finished all that remains is striping, fencing, and some final cleanup work!
We can already see the footprint of the brand new track and the changes are striking.
The new track is 400 meters! For the last 20 years Eastern has trained and competed on an old 440yd track with 400m conversion lines. No conversions are required from yards to meters any longer. This will clean up the starting area, make split times more accurate, and allow for correct relay exchanges in the 4x400m and 4x800m.
The new track is much wider! Every lane is 42 inches wide adding an extra 6 inches per lane, making the entire track 4 feet wider. For training and competition this extra space will make a dramatic difference! The new track will also feature a walking path around the outside for spectators.
Home stretch, home side of the stadium! For nearly 20 years, since the stadium was upgraded, the home stretch of the track has been on the visitor’s side of the stadium. Competitors will now race down the straight-away in front of the main stadium bleachers.
Two competition ready straight-aways! Both sides of the track will be marked and ready for competition. For competition, this will allow our meets to quickly run through large fields. For training this will be especially valuable on early spring days when up to 7 different varsity teams are conditioning on the track.
Two Long Jump Pits: Anyone who has been to a few track meets knows that a venue with only 1 long jump pit for boys long jump and girls long jump and boys triple jump and girls triple jump often finishes with jumpers still competing after everything on the track has concluded. Our 2 new jump pits are a huge improvement in quality and will allow us to host large meets efficiently on campus!
Huge High Jump Apron: Our new high jump apron is huge! It is large enough to host two high jump competitions at one time. It also makes for an additional valuable training space during busy days of practice. The large surface will be great for drills, strength work, and mobility exercises. Since nearly every team on campus uses the track for training this space will come in very handy during busy days of early spring!
Pole Vault Runway: Our new pole vault runway will give the space needed to contest large vault competitions. The old runway position made it very difficult to contest high jump and pole vault concurrently. The new runway features a vault box on both ends so we can place a pit at either end.
Steeplechase Pit: The steeplechase is a unique event, rarely contested at the high school level, but a big part of college and post-collegiate track. A steeple pit will allow Eastern to provide unique opportunities to the Louisville community. Distance runners around Kentucky will have a new opportunity to experience this exciting event!
Brand New Restrooms, Concessions, Ticket sales, and Storage Building The new building at the stadium meets some important needs. No one like Port-a-potties! Moving concessions further from the track will make meet management easier. Storage space and ticketing will also add new value to the facility.
The Eastern Track Boosters have raised over $170,000 to make this new track at Eastern a reality. Thanks to families on the team the boosters have financed the remaining balance for the track construction.
However, in addition to track construction we are still raising money so that we will have a full complement of track equipment when we open our facility next spring. Below are some of the big items we are looking to purchase:
• High Jump Pit & Standards – $6,500
• Pole Vault Pit & Standards – $15,000
• Hurdles – $12,500
• Blocks – $2,000
• Discus Cage – $6,000