April 15, 2008
RUSTON - Construction on the Louisiana Tech Jim Mize Track Complex will begin Tuesday, according to Tech Athletics Director Derek Dooley.
Workers from Athletic Polymer Systems, the contractor based out of Corona, Calif., will begin an approximate three- to four-month process that includes removing the current track and installing layers of concrete, asphalt and a tarton surface.
"This is another step in the massive facilities facelift that needs to happen in our athletic department," Dooley said. "The master plan will not only ensure compliance with gender equity issues but will also allow our sports to competitively recruit against conference and regional rivals."
The Jim Mize Track Complex is just another area of the Tech athletics' facilities that has been or is scheduled to be upgraded. The Thomas Assembly Center received a state-of-the-art Maplewood floor in October along with additional renovations to the men's basketball offices, video room and locker room.
J.C. Love Field, home of the Bulldog baseball team, recently added a brand new scoreboard and a newly constructed press box, while undergoing other maintenance upgrades. Currently new tennis courts are being constructed on the southwest side of the Jim Mize Track.
Tech director of recreation Bobby Dowling said the project will cost $970,000. Half of the funding for the project comes from the student athletic fee, and the other half is from a bond issue for recreation.
Louisiana Tech track and field coach Gary Stanley has led his program to six women's indoor and outdoor conference championship titles in the past four years, despite the current state of the facility.
Stanley said the upgrade will help retain the successful direction of both the men and women's programs.
"Every person in our program is so excited about this," Stanley said. "This is long overdue. A lot of alumni have called and said how happy they are. We're all just so excited to get a first-class facility."
Because those who walk frequently on the track may be inconvenienced during construction Dowling suggested nearby Hideaway Park as a substitute. The park has a newly-constructed path for those who wish to walk during the daylight hours.
Dowling said construction on the track should last until August.