Oakland University on track in athletic construction

By Jackson Gilbert

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Among the many construction projects taking place this summer on Oakland University’s campus, the outline of the future track and field facility is taking shape.

The $7.8 million facility will accommodate the university’s NCAA Division I sports, mainly tennis and track and field.

Workers are pouring concrete for the track and field complex on an area of the Upper Fields adjacent to the university’s student apartments along Meadow Brook Drive. The outline of the track is now noticeable.

The new field will allow for intramural sports competitions and will allow students, faculty and staff to participate in recreational activities.

According to the proposal for the athletic complex, it will include synthetic turf, overhead lighting and seating for spectators and athletes. A recreational “super field” will be included in the complex, which will have enough space for multiple activities at the same time.

With the 2013 move to the Horizon League, the need for improved facilities was great.

The addition of the eight tennis courts and the track and field that are included in the design will meet Division I competition requirements and serve to attract higher-caliber student athletes, according to the original proposal.

Field renovations will also serve the fitness and recreational needs of the campus community and engage outside community members in the life of the university.

The new facility will also be attractive to prospective student athletes who will see track and tennis courts that will allow for true home meets.

Student involvement in recreation activities will also likely increase from the new facility, as the field will be of higher quality than any of the lower fields.

According to OU’s website, the additions will also include a new press trailer for outdoor sports events, renovated baseball spectator areas, a new scoreboard and improved parking areas for the lower fields.

The facility’s location across the street from the student apartments will give students living on campus the opportunity to simply walk across the street to run on the track or play tennis, another pitch to prospective students.

Oakland University sent out an email Sunday stating that Meadow Brook road would be closed from July 7-11 in order to run water lines into the facility. It was unclear as of July 1 whether the track and field will be ready for the fall 2014 semester, although a source from Oakland University administration remained optimistic that the facility would be ready.