With the spring weather feeling more like summer this week, Keystone College will begin its final stages in the completion of its new $3.1 million synthetic all-weather athletic field and track.
Keystone has been working with contractor Clark Companies, based out of Delhide, New York, which specializes in the building of outdoor athletic fields, since the summer of 2013.
At the dedication ceremony on April 26, those in attendance could see that most of the construction has been completed, including the turf field portion of the complex, bleachers, scoreboard, press box, and pavement in the outline of the track.
Ed Erdman, director of physical facilities for the college, said that construction on the track will begin this week.
The process should take about two weeks, depending on the weather of course.
“Temperature definitely matters,” Erdman joked. “It’s plenty warm enough now and it’s going to be dry, good weather coming up, hopefully for several days.”
Erdman said that completion of the track is a two or three step process that basically involves placing the rubber surface on the asphalt, applying a final top coat and painting the track.
While the track portion of the complex has yet to be used, the turf field has had much foot traffic since the winter weather gave way to spring, albeit a little longer than expected.
Jason Geadrities, Keystone’s coordinator of intramural sports and recreation, said students have been using the field since the beginning of April for various intramural activities, including the introduction of a popular recreational sport - ultimate frisbee.
“It was something new and well accepted by the students,” Geadrities said. “We never really had the space for it but the new track was the perfect place for it.”
Geadrities also coordinated a whiffle ball league, and was able to utilize the complex’s lights for night games.
“I think the whole playing under the lights thing definitely drew more people in,” he said. “It offers more students the chance to play who may have classes or work during the day. We can cater to students with evening hours so they can get up there and participate and meet some new friends. It’s a good way to get active on campus.”
Geadrities, who is also an adviser for Keystone’s Colleges Against Cancer chapter, mentioned that the relay for life event that the college held as part of the April 26 dedication was a great way for the community to get exposure to the track.
“It brought in a lot of community members and local kids as well as our students so it was great for the college,” Geadrities said. “Our community can use the field when it’s fully operational so it was great exposure.”
Geadrities said that the relay raised about $3,000, which will be donated to the local American Cancer Society.
Most of the Keystone’s students won’t get to reap the benefits of the completed track and field until the fall semester, which Geadrities said will be chock-full of activities.
“We definitely can plan a lot more activities,” Geadrities said. “Obviously the big sports like flag football and soccer can be played, but we can incorporate non-typical sports like ultimate frisbee, whiffle ball and kickball.”
Keystone’s athletic teams, such as soccer, field hockey and track, as well as the newly formed men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, will also be raring to go when the school year begins.
“The new lacrosse coaches are very excited for the new field,” Geadrities said. “It’s good to start getting everyone invested.”
And while students will have the summer off, the track and field complex will certainly continue to remain busy throughout the summer months.
“There will be several camps held throughout the summer for different sports,” Geadrities said. “We want to get the local youth involved and continue to spread the word that the field is up and operational.”
More information for the athletic field and track complex can be found at www.keystone.edu/about_us/athleticfield/.