A new Olympic-quality track is being installed at the Jesse H. Colley Track/Soccer Complex at Troy University.
“I think from practice, player performance, recruiting — you name it, it’s going to have a huge impact on (athletes) once it’s complete,” said Tony Ferrante, the senior associate director of athletics for operations and facilities.
“You know, everybody wants the best facility they can have, and this is going to put us right back up there with everyone in our conference and everybody in the region.”
The project, which began in mid-July, was expected to be completed Aug. 1. However, after construction began, flaws in the foundation were found that have delayed progress.
It will cost approximately $500,000 to complete and is being funded by external revenue sources, according to Ferrante.
According to John Hernandez, track superintendent at the Hellas Construction site in Troy, the crew had to replace the underlying asphalt before resurfacing the top to begin the installation.
“The quality of this track, it’s one of our highest-end tracks that we install,” Hernandez said. “It’s a 15-millimeter depth … you get a lot more rebound per step when you’re running.”
According to the epiQ TRACK website, this particular outdoor track — the epiQ Tracks Z5000 track — has a life expectancy of 10-11 years, with maintenance.
“It’s going to make it look a lot better, for one,” Hernandez said. “I mean, it’s going to tie everything in really nice and look brand new.”
Marc Davis, director of track and field and cross-country, expressed his excitement on behalf of the coaching staff.
“You know, the fact that it’s getting done is just a great thing for us,” Davis said. “It’s going to help our program; it’s going to make things so much better for our kids, you know — it’s a lot safer to be on.
“We just can’t wait for it to get done so we can get on there.”
Ferrante said that having this improved facility would allow the team to host more track meets and potentially conference tournaments as well, which will lessen the amount of travel for Troy’s athletes.
“It means we are moving in the right direction,” said Brackin Stewart, a senior social science education major from Tallassee and member of the track and cross-country teams. “I’m excited about running workouts on a fresh track.”
In Davis’ four years at Troy University, the team has not been able to host a home meet due to the worn-out track, which was built in 2003. He hopes to begin hosting meets starting in the spring 2019 season.
“We’re at the Division I level, so we have to put out a product that’s going to be good for our athletes to train on and get us to another level athletically.”
The surrounding improvements to campus — including the new parking lot being built next to the complex, as well as Trojan Arena that was built in 2012 — make for an “incredible venue for our student athletes to compete and practice in,” according to Ferrante.
When the track isn’t being used for official university purposes, it will be open to the public for exercise. According to Ferrante, there isn’t anything like the facility itself within a 45- to 60-minute drive.
“It’s going to help injury prevention, motivate the team and attract new recruits,” said Delaney Moore, a freshman risk management insurance major from Atlanta and member of the track and cross-country teams.
According to Davis, the old surface became more compact after years of use, creating potential for minor injuries such as stress fractures. He said the Troy team was lucky to avoid those injuries.