Bearcat Stadium Getting Facelift with First New Track in 38 Years

Published 06/02 2014 08:44PM

Updated 06/02 2014 09:18PM

(MARYVILLE, Mo.) The track at Bearcat Stadium has been in place since 1976, with another top layer laid in 1996. It's a good shelf life for a surface that takes a pummeling from running, vaulting, hurdling, and the occasional field storming.

But this year, it was time for a change.

"We just (patched) it the last three or four years and planned to do that again this year," Northwest athletic director Mel Tjeerdsma said. "All of a sudden we had a serious problem on the south end where it had really caved in. That's when it became a reality that we would have to do something with the base."

"They say if you can get 20-25 years out of your asphalt, you're good. We just about got 40, so I don't think we can complain."

From the naked eye, the track might have seemed ship-shape, but to find what really affects student-athletes, you've got to look beneath the surface.

"Tracks go bad, not from the top down, but from the bottom up. So, when you see problems on the track, it's from what's happened underneath it," head track & field coach Scott Lorek said. "We had some real problems and started having places that were almost on the verge of becoming dangerous if someone were to step on a low spot while running fast."

The renovations clock in at over half a million dollars, an amount for which Northwest had previously budgeted. The process began ast week as crews dug up the top layer around the field. The meat of the project starts with replacing the asphalt, which Lorek says will need to sit almost a month before the project can continue.

"About mid-July, we'll probably put the new surface down on it, and hopefully the project will be finished by early August."

"We actually cancelled a home meet this year because of the surface. We moved our high school meet over to Maryville High School. Now, we'll be back to hosting our events and hopefully have another 25 great years."

The construction means the area's running enthusiasts can't frequent the track until later this summer, but the athletic department believes it will be worth it once fall football camp arrives in mid-August.

"I'm sure a lot of people are missing the opportunity to be on the track," he said. "It's taken that away from us. That's just all part of the process."


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