Written by Sara Hook // Photo provided by Jeff Montgomery
While construction of Harding’s new track and field stadium remains incomplete, with the stripes now painted, it is complete enough to begin hosting events. Harding’s track and field team will host a junior high meet Feb. 28 and a high school meet March 2, while the team is gearing up for the Harding Invitational March 16-17.
The junior high and high school meets are an opportunity for Harding’s athletes, head track and cross country coach Don Hood said.
“Our athletes are the officials and get to run off the meet, so it’s a learning experience for them and a little bit of a fundraiser for us, but it also gets a lot of Arkansas kids on our campus,” Hood said. “[It’s] a chance to interact with our kids and for us to meet coaches.”
While construction is still going on, Hood said the department of physical resources helped them prepare for the event. Currently, the department is working on pouring concrete and installing fencing, among other projects.
“The biggest complication is it’s outside,” director of physical resources Danny DeRamus said. “If we build a building, once we get a roof on it we can continue working underneath it no matter the weather. Here we are so weather dependent.”
Another recently completed project was the installation of speakers [CHECK COMPLETION]. The speakers are located on the eastern pole lights, blowing west and away from Harding Place, construction manager Ryan Carter said.
“Our emphasis is to really get the track done,” Carter said. “Then we’ll start working on the field events, which are going to be located on the north side of the track.”
Despite all the construction going on, team members are still ready to use the track. Freshman Ashley Gray said she was excited for the whole project to be complete.
“Once it’s finished, it’s going to be really, really nice,” Gray said. “I’ve run on it a couple of times, and it’s really soft. It’s a nice surface to run on.”
The whole thing should be complete by the end of April, DeRamus said, as long as pieces like the bleachers arrive on schedule, and when it is done, it should make life easier for both the track and football coaches as they won’t have to share a stadium.
“Very few Division II schools have a standalone track facility,” Hood said. “It’s just really exciting to see how this has all played out. The advantages, I think, it’s going to give us in a lot of ways. It’s going to be really good for us.”