University unveils $13M plan to replace facilities for displaced track and field teams

The proposal was part of a plan to replace the teams’ facilities destroyed by construction of the Athlete’s Village.

Emily Polglaze

Minnesota’s cross country and track and field programs could train in a new $13 million facility proposed by the University of Minnesota Thursday.

The project includes a new track and field facility as well as relocation of two current recreational athletic facilities that currently occupy the land of the proposed track, bringing both closer to the new Athletes Village that is still under construction.

“Our goal here is that we can maximize shared amenities with the Athletes Village complex,” University Athletics Director Mark Coyle said Thursday.

The track and field team was displaced by the construction of the University’s Athletes Village.

Initially, no plans were made to replace the destroyed track facility. The lack of facilities for the teams prompted a gender-equity complaint, triggering an ongoing federal Title IX investigation of the school. The track teams have been using facilities at Hamline University for practice in the meantime.

If approved by the University’s Board of Regents, construction is slated to be completed by August 2018. Regents are expected to address the proposal in October.

The proposed track facility, which would include nine lanes and resources for javelin, shot put, discus/hammer throw, long/triple jump, and steeplechase, has been integrated into the Athletes Village project.

The proposed track facility will also include 5,600 square feet to accommodate restrooms, a press box, concessions, and both permanent and temporary spectator seating for 4,000

The location of the proposed facility currently houses the university’s Recreation Sports Bubble and Softball Field, which would be relocated to the corner of 25th Avenue Southeast and 6th Street Southeast.

The University would need to purchase the Mathisen Elevator property and demolish long-vacant grain elevators to make room for the relocation and reconstruction of the Sports Bubble and softball field.

The proposed recreational sports project would cost an estimated $6 million, bringing the project total to $19 million. The project would be paid for through university debt funding.

Coyle said that the relocation of the track facility will allow its athletes to take full advantage of all of the new Athletes Village facilities and amenities once they are completed.

At a regents committee meeting Thursday — where the University unveiled the proposal — Coyle and regents emphasized the importance of including and enhancing spaces for recreational or club sports team, which the relocation of the Sports Bubble would provide.