Balde: CSU needs to be held to better standards for athletic facilities

Mamadou Balde

It is now May 7, six days after the scheduled opening date for Jack Christiansen Memorial Field, yet the track remains cluttered with equipment and without a running surface or grass.

Christiansen Memorial has stood as Colorado State’s home track since 1989 and renovations for the track began on June 12, 2017. The renovations were originally expected to be finished in October of 2017, before the start of the 2018 outdoor track and field season, but was delayed until May 1, 2018 and as of today, little progress has been made.

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Without a home outdoor track, the team has had to make comprises in order to stay competition-ready. The team has practiced at Rocky Mountain High School in the mornings, but even with that, there have been times where the team has been rushed out so that the high school athletes could practice. CSU has also been unable to host their own home meets this season, though they did co-host a meet with the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Track under construction.
The $2.4 million upgrade to the Jack Christiansen Memorial Track still sits unfinished. The track was originally scheduled to be finished by the end of October 2017 but still is without grass or a running surface, old track equipment litters the site. Construction began June 12, 2017 and is has now been rescheduled to finish May 1, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

CSU must do a better job with providing student-athletes with the proper facilities needed, especially for a team regarded as one of the most successful programs at CSU right now. The track and field team placed 12th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2017 to tie their highest finish in program history and are looking to continue their already successful season at the 2018 outdoor championships. With all of their success, the team was rewarded with the loss of a home track.

The track was delayed for multiple reasons, including the timing of the renovation. The new running surface will be made from a temperature-sensitive synthetic that requires warm weather “for the surface to cure and adhere to the post-tensioned concrete surface,” said Assistant Director for Facilities Management and university planner, Fred Haberecht.

Regardless of where the blame for the issue lies, CSU needs to be held to better standards when it comes to the facilities that athletes use. The situation with the track is not the first problem CSU athletics has had with facilities. Earlier this year, CSU’s softball team protested inequality with their facilities at a football spring practice after one of their games got snowed-out. The softball team currently has a chance at making the NCAA Regionals with their 25-19 record.

The problems being faced by the softball and track team are ones that the football team did not see with the newly constructed on-campus stadium, which was completed on schedule, without lengthy delays. While football is one of the more popular sports on CSU’s campus and in Fort Collins, the team has not seen much success in the past few seasons. It seems as though CSU should be focusing their attention to the programs that are currently bringing the most success to the campus.

The CSU track and field team will compete at the Mountain West Championships from May 9-12 where they placed second in both the men’s and women’s side in 2017.

Collegian sports reporter Mamadou Balde can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @mamadoubalde62.