A new athletic facility could take over Belk Track

“We have gotten approval from the University’s Board of Trustees to build a new indoor practice facility on the Navy Field site which is going to encroach on the current footprint of the track, and that would cause us to have to relocate the track,” said Mike Bunting, assistant athletic director for facility planning and management.

He said Belk Track, home of the track and field team, would be relocated to Finley Fields, just off of campus.

“We have a strong precedent of practice at (the Finley Fields) facility now, so we are going to ask one of our programs to adjust to that type of programming off campus rather than being on campus,” Bunting said.

He said the new location might not be as convenient, but the soccer and lacrosse programs already practice at Finley Fields.

Stephen Thompson, a student assistant with the Athletic Communications Office, said he hadn’t heard anything official and doesn’t know what the plan looks like.

“If the University decides to tear down the track that they have and build a new one, it could be a better facility which would be great for the team. It may be a little bit off campus ... I don’t know if that would be a good or a bad thing,” Thompson said.

Bunting said the new indoor practice facility would give the football program and other field sport programs a place to practice and train indoors. He said the new facility will also give space to Campus Recreation programs and the Department of Exercise and Sport Science.

Bunting also said the facility will create more opportunities for physical activity on campus as well as enhance recruitment and player development for student-athletes.

“I can tell you we have goal of having the indoor practice facility open by the fall of 2018,” he said.

Bunting said it will be at least a year before ground is broken on the new facility. Bunting said more design development and cost estimating is needed before a budget can be established.

Some student-athletes, particularly those who use the track regularly for workouts, were not aware of the possible location change.

“Just in terms of what we do on the club team, it would be kind of an inconvenience just because most of the people that run on a daily basis live around here,”said Brad Pehr, a sophomore member of the club track and cross country team

Carl Geiger, a sophomore on track and field team, said the team uses the track almost every day.

“Especially for people who live on campus and don’t have cars like the underclassman, it is just really great that it is right here and right behind Carmichael (Residence Hall) where most of them live,” Geiger said. “All I can say is that I really hope it doesn’t move far.”

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