EMU breaks ground on new track and field complex

EMU breaks ground on new track and field complex
EMU breaks ground on new track and field complex(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 11:55 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - After years of waiting, Eastern Mennonite University has officially broke ground on its new track and field complex.

“Finally on the starting blocks to pole vault this stellar program into EMU’s vibrant second century,” Braydon Hoover, Associate Vice President for Advancement at EMU said.

The universities number one capital project was put on the back burner for the last three years as the school switched focus to supporting students during the pandemic, but in less than a year a new complex will sit on the campus.

“This is not an enhancement, it’s not a refurbishment, it’s a completely new state-of-the-art facility,” Susan Schultz Huxman, President of EMU said.

Monday marked the official groundbreaking for the new facility, although a little work has already been done, the new facility is already boosting EMU athletics.

“56 prospective students have been accepted into the program, 10 have already committed and another 55 are actively interested,” Hoover said. “These represent a tripling of numbers compared to last year.”

It’s not just EMU athletics that will benefit from the new facility.

“This facility will also benefit our city,” Deanna Reed, Mayor Harrisonburg said. “With this new facility, EMU can host collegiate and high school track meets and bring in more visitors to the city.”

The new facility will allow EMU track and field to compete at its highest level.

“We’re gonna have a full eight-lane track that we haven’t had we’ve only had six lanes on the turns before and eight on the straightaways so just a quality track that provides opportunities for student-athlete development, fewer injuries that’s something we were dealing with here,” Carrie Bert, Director of Athletics for EMU said.

The new complex will also get fans a better viewing experience.

“Our pole vault pits are gonna be right along the straightaway in front of the fans, multiple long jump pits, steeple chase here, we’ll have lights, we have the opportunity to host collegiate ODAC championships as well as just a general home meet we haven’t had that opportunity,” Bert said.

EMU noted the diversity of athletes in track and field and how the new facility would allow them to continue pushing the boundaries of athletes at the university.

“Track and field is accessible to student-athletes from all backgrounds, all abilities, and all body types,” Hoover said.

EMU track and field is using facilities on the campus of JMU while the new complex is being built.

Construction is slated to be finished in the spring of 2024.