MEDICINE HAT, AB – Shovels are expected to hit the ground this summer to revamp some of the facilities at the Rotary Track and Soccer Complex attached to Crescent Heights High School.
At an announcement on Saturday, the Medicine Hat and District Track and Field Society announced a partnership that will bring roughly $650,000 in upgrades to the facility.
A 1,500 square-foot administration building will be constructed next to current office, which will house room for staff, track and field equipment, the high jump pits, and a first aid booth.
Revamped change rooms will also be constructed on the north end of the track to accommodate both athletes and officials competing in track and field or soccer.
Dr. Ken Sauer with the Track and Field Society said since opening 11 years ago, the Rotary Track has seen an explosion of interest from the community.
“We started out very slowly in 2007,” said Sauer. “But, we’re up to 4,000 or 5,000 young people who use the track from the city and the district.”
The City of Medicine Hat will be footing $325,000 of the total bill, while the Alberta government will be chipping in $150,000 themselves through a Culture and Tourism grant.
Local MLAs Bob Wanner and Drew Barnes were on hand to launch the build, while Wanner said it’s a project that will have a lasting legacy for Medicine Hat residents.
“It’s an investment in young people as far as I’m concerned, and it’s the kind of facility that lasts for a long, long time,” said Wanner. “I’m proud that the City, the province, and the various volunteer groups that we see here partnered together to make something like this happen.”
Money for the project will also be coming from SD76, the Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education and the Medicine Hat Minor Soccer Association, who will all be using the track and soccer fields.
Some fundraising will still need to be done however, as the Track and Field Society is still about $100,000 away from paying off the expansion.
Sauer added local star hurdler Sage Watson began her career on the Rotary Track and hopes these improvements will help future track and field stars from Medicine Hat.
“Those kids will say, ‘Sage Watson, look at that. If she can do that, we’re going to go out and try too,’” said Sauer. “And boy, that’s what you need is a target, an incentive, and a vision to do something better than just participate.”
Work on the new buildings is expected to get started on July 2 following local school track meets, however Sauer did say that track events this summer will still be held at the facility while under construction.
Board members are hoping the construction will be finished by October 31, with a grand opening planned for sometime in early November.
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