South Carolina is on track to having one of the top track and field facilities in the nation.
Weems Baskin Track, which hadn’t been upgraded since 1997, has been overhauled and rebuilt with several new additions, including a 400-meter Mondo Track Surface and nine lanes that are 48 inches wide.
“For a running facility, it’s as good as any facility, in my opinion, in the world,” USC track and field coach Curtis Frye said. “Because it’s a Mondo Surface and it has the world-class return, instead of it being soft, really soft, where you lose a lot of your forces when you hit the ground, it gets the return right back up into your run.”
The construction began in June 2015 by the Palmetto Construction Group of Charleston, and is expected to be finished by Nov. 1. The track, located at 1320 Heyward Street, will be adjacent to a brand new track and field operations building off Rosewood Drive. The project is a part of the Sasaki Master Plan, which was created in 2006.
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According to the USC Athletics Department, the project is expected to cost $10.3 million. Once completed, the track will feature Musco-sports lighting, multiple completion level-long jump, triple jump, pole vault, high jump, shot put, discus, hammer and javelin locations, as well as a practice area for shot, discus, hammer and javelin.
The facility also will include more amenities for spectators and the media, including a press box, restrooms and a promenade that extends and connects the entire Athletics Village complex from Heyward to Rosewood Drive. It’s configured to seat 1,450 people, but can be expanded to hold more than 2,000 spectators.
Along with being finished in time for the Gamecocks to host the 2017 SEC Championships, Frye said he believes the new facility will provide another boost to his talented team.
“When you give talent equal access to facilities – weight rooms, training rooms and locker rooms – it means talent can work hard and be superior to everybody else in the world,” Frye said. “I feel like Carolina has the people factor. Now, it’s got a chance to have the facility factor.”
Rebuilding USC’s facilities
• Men’s and women’s soccer facility – $3.75 million, completed August 2016. Includes locker rooms, weight rooms, theaters to review tape, training rooms and coaches’ locker rooms.
• New field at Williams-Brice Stadium - $995,000, completed August 2016. Includes new drainage, irrigation and grass.
Projects in the works
• Baseball player lounge – $975,000. The media room at Founders Park will be converted into a player lounge with TVs, counter space and chairs. Expected to be finished by February 2017.
• New basketball offices - $4 million. Will include training rooms and a weight room for men and women’s basketball and volleyball. Expected to be finished May 2017.
• Indoor track - $4.65 million. The fieldhouse will be gutted and a new track will be installed. Expected to be finished by fall 2017.
• Football operations building - $50 million. Expected to be finished by August 2018.