Monitor ongoing renovations; Completion of phase 1 by June

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The first stage of Oak Ridge High School’s Ben Martin Track renovations is expected to be completed by June.

The students attend the inauguration of the Ben Martin Track project.

“From what I understand, this will be the first runway in the area,” said Peter Ludman, architect at Cope Architecture, of the new complex he is working on.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on January 14 at the complex, attracting school and city officials. The track is named after Hall of Famer ORHS coach Ben Martin.

Various officials came to inaugurate Ben Martin Track for a series of renovations.

Allen Thacker, maintenance and operations supervisor for Oak Ridge Schools, explained that the asphalt on the current track dates back to the 1950s and is eroding.

Oak Ridge Schools Career Readiness and Communications Supervisor Holly Cross said the contract for the first phase of the track project, including the track surface itself, is expected to be complete. by June, but that weather conditions may cause some minor delays in the project schedule. . The athletic department is also working with the track team and boosters to raise funds for future rankings.

Alan Ethridge, former ORHS cross-country coach and current assistant athletic director, promoted this new track project in The Oak Ridger. He spoke to reporters at the project event. The new eight-lane track will be the only high school track in the area to have a steeple chase, which includes wooden and water barriers to jump over.

Bruce Lay, executive director of the school system’s academic leadership, said the complex will lead to more home track meets. Ethridge added that Tennessee Wesleyan officials want their athletes to use the track when it’s complete.

The project, a joint effort between Oak Ridge Schools and the Oak Ridge community, will require multiple phases and an additional fundraising campaign led by ORHS Head Athletics Coach Tom Sauer.

The Oak Ridge School Board Approved a transfer of $885,000 from its budget for renovations. The project, especially its new ranking, will rely on fundraising and sponsorships. To help raise funds for the new ranking, people can contact Ethridge at [email protected].

Lay said the school system plans to raise funds from the public for further improvements, including new obstacles, a pole vault and a high jump.

Oak Ridge School Board Chairman Keys Fillauer, left, speaks with Peter Ludman, architect of the Ben Martin Track renovation project.

As Ethridge explained in his column in The Oak Ridger, a new rubberized surface to replace the worn and disintegrated track surface will be part of this first phase. All field events except the pole vault will move to the infield: the shot put and discus rings will both be at the north end of the practice field, while the long jump and triple jump will use a single 220-foot track on the straight, with pits at the north and south ends. The pole vault will remain outside the south end of the track, but the new pit will switch sides and be at the west end near the country house.

Other improvements to the first phase of the installation described by Ethridge include replacing the old lights and moving them to the outside of the track, adding an additional light to the south end of the track in the turn two and backfilling the worn crown from soccer practice. domain.

Ethridge went on in his recent column to describe several other renovations to the facility that would be part of a phase two.

“Because a first-class facility will also require significant upgrades to the rest of the complex, a second phase will include a new locker room, restrooms and a concessions building where the current concession/restroom building is located. The main entrance to the facility will move south, and a new gate inspired by the Pro2Serve Soccer Complex gate will be installed next to the current track stands, and new bleachers will be installed on the hill next to the straight and at the end north of the facility, so fans can sit close to the action and see every event of a track meet.At the north end of the track, plans call for a new scoreboard with a clear view for fans and athletes,” he said.

“The facility’s specifications make the ORHS a prime venue for both High School Invitationals and the Section 1 Championship, as well as College and Club Meets,” he said. .

Ben Pounds is a reporter for The Oak Ridger. Call him at (865) 441-2317, email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Bpoundsjournal.

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