An artist's rendering gives a impression of what the finished WSCU Indoor track will look like. Image courtesy of Western State Colorado University Athletics.
It's scheduled to open in January, 2014, and it figures to be busy from the day it opens.
There aren't many indoor track and field facilities in Colorado right now. The count currently stands at three--the Air Force Academy Cadet Field House, Balch Field House behind CU's Folsom Field, and Steinhauer Field House at Colorado School of Mines. And both Balch Field House and Steinhauer Field House feature three-lane ovals. The one at Balch measures 200 meters, the one at Steinhauer 189 meters.
The options figure to expand in a hurry once Western State opens their new facility, scheduled to happen in a little over a year from now. The WCSU track will be a flat, 200 meter oval, but will have six lanes all the way around and an eight-lane straightaway for sprint and hurdle events.
Western State track coach Chris Bradford hopes to schedule two to three collegiate meets there each indoor season, plus another two to three high school meets. Whenever they schedule their first meet, it will also be a first for western Colorado. Bradford reports, "There will be facilities for pole vault, long and triple jump outside the oval, and throwing and high jump inside the oval. The throwing circle will be permanent in-ground with a cage that lowers from the ceiling. We will also have locker rooms and a 6000 square foot weight room accessible right off the track.
Welcome to the indoor big time, Western State.
It's more than just a venue for indoor meets. It means a reasonable facility in which to practice during the winter months. Bradford confesses, "I honestly don’t know what I am going to do with all the space! Our training will have to adapt to our new facilities, just as it had to adapt to our lack of facilities before. It is going to be a game changer for us, I can’t wait to see what heights we can reach when we move in there."
Somehow, though, you know a quality track and field program such as Western State boasts will find a way to effectively and efficiently use that space. For starters, they'll have a winter practice facility that allows their hurdlers to practice over more than two hurdles in succession.
The facility will have permanent seating with the ability to accommodate up to 550 people, plus the ability to bring in portable bleachers as the need arises.
While it's certainly a boon for Western State track and field, it's a net gain for track and field in the state of Colorado as well. The facility means less travel for all the in-state track and field programs during the indoor season. It means indoor track and field gets a toehold in western Colorado.
There should be a large number of track and field folks eager to be on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on this new facility. It won't come soon enough.