Alumni Fieldhouse is On the Fast Track to the 21st Century
In late June workers installed a new red and gray Versaturf floor inside the 58,000 square-foot facility. The new flooring system - which is the largest Versaturf floor in the country - not only replaces a worn 13-year-old surface, but improves Haverford's popular indoor running track by actually shrinking it down to a more appropriate size. Prior to the renovation, the track ran 225 yards - a popular size for competition when it was first constructed in 1957. But the new 200 meter distance makes the track much more appropriate for current Centennial Conference competitions and other important indoor track events.
"Not only were we concerned about the worn surface, but we were worried at some point we would not be able to host Centennial Conference events," said Athletic Director Greg Kannerstein.
In addition to shrinking down the track, workers installed a textured surface which will allow racers to wear spikes during the larger events.
"It should improve performance," Kannerstein said. "It will make a good track into a super track."
In the past, the bright red track has hosted some near lightning performances from Haverford racers like Meredith Unger'97 who once ran the 1500 meters in 4:40, qualifying her for the national championships. In 1994, Karl Paranya'97, ran the 800 meters in 1:51 on the track - a time that was actually faster than the finishing times he posted to win the NCAA Division III titles in that event. The track has also been the foundation for a sub-four-minute mile from Paranya's training partner, Marcus O'Sullivan, a Villanova graduate and Irish Olympian.
The rest of the multi-purpose building - once one of the largest indoor track and field facilities in the country - will continue to host a variety of activities, including basketball, indoor tennis, volleyball and wrestling. And these events might just be a bit more illuminating in the years to come.
"The new track is red," explained Kannerstein. "But in the field part we chose a light gray for visibility. In the past it's been hard to light the place adequately - the red seemed to suck up the light. This should help brighten it up."
Haverford is set to host the next Centennial Conference indoor track championships in 1999. The college hosts the outdoor championships next spring.