East Bank to play home to new U track facilities

School leaders previously had discussed building the space near the St. Paul campus.

Erik Newland

The University of Minnesota’s East Bank campus will host the school’s new track and field facilities, interim athletics director Beth Goetz announced at a Board of Regents committee meeting last week.
 
University leaders previously discussed moving the track to the St. Paul campus, which would have displaced parts of Les Bolstad Golf Course.
 
The track will move from its current location because of construction of a new “athletics village” complex. 
 
The complex — which will include an indoor football practice facility and a basketball development center — is part of an ongoing $190 million athletics facilities project.
 
The displacement of the track facility prompted a complaint that launched a Title IX investigation early this year.  
 
The complex will also displace the Bierman Field Athletic Building, where athletic offices are housed. 
 
“When the athletics village project starts, the track will be the first thing to be out,” said Steve Plasencia, director of men’s track and field and cross country.
 
The University’s track and field teams previously hosted competitions in the stadium next to Bierman, but it hasn’t been competition-worthy for years, he said.
 
“Our track facility has been in need of repair the whole time I’ve been coach,” he said. “And I’ve been coach for 20 years.”
 
The track’s surface is cracked due to issues with the foundation, Plasencia said. 
 
Building a new track would be more cost-effective than continuing to repair the current one, he said.
 
When the athletics village project starts, University track teams will use facilities at Hamline and Concordia universities, Plasencia said.
 
The University hasn’t announced a specific East Bank location for the new track and field facility, said Board of Regents spokesman Brian Steeves.