Daily Egyptian

Old Recreation Center track passes the baton to a new floor

By Cory Ray, @coryray_DE

The Recreation Center is running to new distances with the installation of a new track.

The east gym is receiving a new rubber track floor for the first time since 1986, when the Recreation Center opened, after three years of planning. 

Instead of removing the old floor, a new 13mm Mondo Sport rubber floor was laid directly on top, giving 25mm of cushion for track users and eliminating the cost of removing the old layer.

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“We’re thrilled with the old floor and the life that it gave us,” Troy Vaughn, director of the Recreation Center, said.

Vaughn said the Recreation Center and the Athletics Department split the $400,000 cost of the new floor.

The Recreation Center paid for their portion of the project through its Repair, Replacement and Revenue savings account, Vaughn said. Each year, the Recreation Center sets aside a portion of money in the account to fund projects such as the floor.

Andy Pettit, associate athletic director of facilities, said athletics also funded the project through their Triple R account.

“[Athletics and the Recreation Center] both got together and found some synergy,” Pettit said. “It impacts a lot of student-athletes and a lot of students, so we thought it was the best use of that money.”

As the old floor began to harden from use over time, Vaughn said the new floor will increase safety by lessening impacts on the joints of users, such as track and field athletes who use the track three hours a day.

“Student-athlete welfare is the number one thing,” Pettit said. “We don’t do anything for coaches or anything else until after we feel like we’ve showed up everything for academics and student-athlete services.”

The floor is spike resilient and features inlaid race lines rather than painted ones. Added features include two pole vault boxes, a cricket pitch and soccer lines in Court 4. Unlike the old floor’s blue and green color scheme, the new floor is maroon and gray.

Vaughn said the floor has a 20 to 25 year lifespan.

While the gym’s lower track is closed, the second floor track and the racquetball courts remain open.

The Rec expects the new track to open to the public on Sept. 21.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” Pettit said. “The Rec Center gets a brand new, beautiful surface … It makes the building more attractive. It’s a much better, safer surface for the casual person running on the track or training on the track.”

Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_DE

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