Sports

Lynnfield set to open new track and field facility

After several years of longing for a first-class track and field facility, the wait is over for the Town of Lynnfield, which recently completed a $2.25 million renovation project of the middle school's track and field complex. (Item Photo by Anne Marie Tobin )

LYNNFIELD — After several years of longing for a first-class track and field facility, the wait is over for the Town of Lynnfield, which recently completed a $2.25 million renovation project of the middle school’s track and field complex.

The facility will open for business September 9 (at 1:30 p.m.) when the Recreation Commission and the Lynnfield Public Schools will host a Grand Opening.

Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony, which includes a ceremonial First Lap run by the Lynnfield High track and cross country teams and alumni. The First Lap will be followed by a Mini-Track Meet. The meet will be informal, offering students an opportunity to compete in sprints and hurdles events, and try out the new long jump pit.

Commemorative ribbons will be awarded.

In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Sunday, Sept. 16 (also at 1:30 p.m.).

The track has already been utilized by the public and Lynnfield’s cross country team.

“We’ve already been out with the team running a workout and the track looks great,” said Lynnfield track coach Bill Wallace. “What a big difference it makes. Having a brand new track will only increase enthusiasm for the sport. It has been five years since we last hosted a meet in the spring of 2014 so it’ll be so exciting for the athletes not to have get on a bus and go to a meet.”

Due to lack of proper maintenance, the condition of the track had gradually deteriorated over the years, leading to its closure.

The new facility includes the installation of a new irrigation system; improved landscaping and drainage; the widening of the field to accommodate high school sports (such as soccer and lacrosse), the removal of the old bleachers on both sides of the football field and replacement with new, movable bleachers on the concessions side of the field;  and a clean-up of the concessions building and area with additional plans to bring it up to code. A new storage facility to house track and field equipment was also constructed and a deep well to service the new irrigation system and softball field adjacent to the middle school was installed.

Town track programs received an added influx of support this year when the Lynnfield Athletic Association dedicated the proceeds from the annual LAA Fourth of July Road  Race to purchase much-needed track and field equipment.

The facility’s one of many improvements either completed or in the process of being completed as a town-wide comprehensive improvement plan.

“The taxpayers of Lynnfield deserve great credit for their willingness to address what has been a long-term, serious safety and use issue here in Lynnfield. They recognized the problem and were willing to make the necessary investment to rectify the problem,” said Arthur Bourque, chairman of the Recreational Fields Advisory Committee.  “The addition of this track and a new full-sided grass field results in Lynnfield having some of the nicest recreational and school playing fields in Massachusetts.

“Four years ago, there was only one MIAA compliant full-sided field for soccer and lacrosse,” Bourque said. “Today we have four full-sided, MIAA compliant fields at the high school, one full-sided MIAA compliant field at the middle school and we have the ability to create another full-sided, MIAA compliant field in the outfield of the middle school baseball field. This represents an enormous increase in available playing surfaces. In addition, we can create additional small-sided fields for organizations like soccer and flag football within the confines of the existing fields.”

Bourque said that much was learned from the massive fields improvements project at the high school and that plans are in place to reserve funding for the completion of minor, low-cost improvements not included in the project’s original budget.

“That includes small things like bringing the concessions stand at the LMS complex up to code, painting and roofing the older buildings that were not removed but continue to be used and other minor things we will discover as we bring this track and the field on line,” said Bourque.  “My experience at the high school tells me that there’ll be a bunch of small things that we will discover with usage and we’ll want the flexibility to address those issues. We’ll do that using money that remains in the budget appropriation for this complex.”

More Stories From Lynnfield