MU embarks on upgrade to track
Mansfield University has embarked on the most extensive upgrade to its track and field facilities since the 1960's with a complete renovation of Robert T. Maxson Track at the Karl Van Norman complex.
While the Mountaineer track and field programs will be the most obvious beneficiary of the extensive remodel, the benefits will also extend to the university and community. "This project is a significant improvement for our track and field programs as well as the university and community," said Dr. James Parker, who oversees athletics as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Mansfield. "It's also an investment for the students, faculty, staff, community members and the entire Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. "This will be the finest facility of its kind in Tioga County and beyond. It's something the university and community will both take great pride in, and make great use of, for many years to come."
The Mansfield coaching staff, which had significant involvement in the renovation process, views the renovations as a key step in the continuing improvement and success of the Mountaineer track and field program.
"The upgraded facility will be a tremendous asset to our program" explained head men's track and field coach Mike Rohl. "It will be a great recruiting tool for all of Mansfield University."
Mansfield women's head coach Nadine Faustin-Parker, a three-time Olympian, sees the enhanced venue as the key to improving both programs. "The new track and field facility represents hope and change for Mansfield's track and field programs for years to come," said Faustin-Parker. "We're one step closer to becoming more successful - when the new resources are in place the probability of success increases."
Work on the upgrade started in May and is expected by be completed by mid-August. The three-month project will allow the Mountaineer men's and women's track and field teams to practice and compete at a first-class, state-of-the-art campus facility and will be one of the finest track and field complex's in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.
One of the most notable transformations to the facility will be the expansion of the current six-lane track to a championship-compliant, eight-lane track with 42-inch lanes. The new Maxson track has been extended outward to accommodate the additional lanes. The polyurethane surface will be red in color replacing the former rubber-based black surface. The asphalt base has been reconstructed, leveled and expanded.
A new drainage system has already been installed and will run along the entire length of the track. The jumping and vaulting pits have been moved from their original location inside the track just beyond the East end zone, to adjacent to the visitor bleachers are on the outside of the track. The jumps area will feature separate pits for the long and triple jump events and a full pole vault runway. All three runways are oriented with the prevailing wind. Mansfield will be one of just five PSAC institutions that feature separate runways and pits for the jump events.
The upgraded high jump area will remain on the inside of the track at the East end of the Van Norman complex, but has been reconfigured to feature a full runway. In anticipation of a new all-purpose artificial turf playing surface at Van Norman Field, all throwing events have been moved to Ed Russell Field. The javelin throw area will feature a full polyurethane runway built to conference specifications. Brand new discus and shot put areas will also be constructed at Russell.
The sprint football team will still use Russell Field as a practice facility with a more efficient layout. The complete renovation is the most major improvement in the track and field facilities since the late MU Hall of Famer, and then head track and field coach, Molly Dry oversaw the building of the on-campus facility at Karl Van Norman Field in 1964. The cinder track was replaced by an all-weather synthetic surface in 1971 and has been resurfaced numerous times since then. In 1976, the track complex was named for MU alum and track coach Robert T. (Bob) Maxson who had passed away just prior to Christmas in 1975 at the age of 45.