Track facility passes final inspection

Published 1:46 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

First Covington County meet planned April 13

The state inspector put his stamp of approval on the county’s new track and field facility yesterday, and Superintendent Shannon Driver said the county school system is gearing up for its first track meet on Sat., April 13.

“We have a short list of items that should be done in the next couple of days,” Driver said. “They are all minor cosmetic things, but the inspector was very complimentary of the work that First Team Construction Co., Inc., has done.”

Driver said that students have been on the track practicing already.

“They are out there every day,” Driver said. “So we are very excited about it.”

The grand opening of the facility will be on April 13 as well.

“It won’t be anything elaborate,” Driver said. “But we will be doing a little grand opening and kick off for the first track meet. We will start the first event at 2 p.m. Typically with a track meet, you start your throwing events first, but we will probably start everything event at 2 p.m.”

Driver said that the biggest challenge will be trying to host a meet for the first time.

“We are going to have a couple of other teams,” Driver said. “That will be so we can have a little help running the first events. We have a few of our coaches that have gotten certified as officials, but we don’t have quite enough, so this will allow us to have some extra hands from people that do it all of the time. They know how to run individual events, but there is going to be a big learning curve when it comes to hosting an entire meet.”

There are still some little things that still need to be done around the new facility, but Driver said everything will come together.

“We are trying to get everything in place by next week,” Driver said. “Like we still need the team logo signs to go up and we need to basically outfit the building for spectators, like putting garbage cans out and stuff like that that you don’t really think about.”

Driver said that rain has been one of the bigger challenges with constructing the facility, but he hopes that there is a little more rain coming to help the grass grow.

“The thing about this project that made it a little more difficult, was that 95 percent of everything was outside,” Driver said. “Typically when you get a building dried in, you don’t have to worry about the rain, but in our case, they had to work in the rain a lot of the time. It was a challenge until about three or four weeks ago to work without the rain. Now we just need the grass to grow around the parking lot.”

The eight-lane track circles the soccer-sized field, and there are adjacent spaces for high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump events. Work also has begun on a 5,000-meter cross-country course.

The facility, located on 109 acres off Hwy. 55, and within 20 to 22-minutes’ driving distance from each of the county’s high schools, has buildings on either side of the entrance. On one side, there are dressing rooms and restroom facilities for athletes, as well as storage rooms for each of the high schools that will use the facility.

On the opposite side, there are restroom facilities for spectators, a concession stand, and a covered pavilion.