INA – A rain-filled summer and early fall has slightly stifled progress on Rend Lake College’s new track and field facilities. Despite the delay, the project is on track to be completed by the spring 2007 semester and ready for the first Warriors women’s track team and established men’s track team.
According to RLC Physical Plant Manager Randall Shively, pools of rainwater must be pumped from the construction site every time a downpour hits the campus in Ina. With precipitation indices showing the area as being wetter than usual since April, such delays have been forced on construction efforts.
However, workers were busy last week pouring and smoothing stone in order to lay concrete and a rubberized track surface. The stone being finished and asphalt beginning to be laid today are two project milestones, according to Shively. The second layer of asphalt will be put down tomorrow, he said. On Thursday, all the final dirt work is scheduled to be leveled for seeding, Shively explained.
“In the next couple of weeks, once all the asphalt and dirt work is completed, seeding will begin and a fence will be put around the track,” said Shively.
During the 14-day period that the layers of asphalt need to fully set, attention can be focused on seeding the infield area where a competition-size soccer field will be located for a future team. The next step will be to lay the rubberized surface for the 400-meter, eight-lane, polyurethane, Olympic-configuration track. According to Shively, the three-quarter-inch rubberized surface will be installed within the next two to three weeks and then striped.
The new track will be available for all college and high school track and field events and will feature a steeplechase pit, javelin runway, hammer and discus cage, shotput circle, long-jump and triple-jump runways, high-jump and pole vault areas and 400 meters of track for all running events.
The track and field facilities are being fully stocked with Gill equipment – a Champaign-based maker of premier track and field equipment.
Also under construction is an addition to the Hitting Zone.
The Hitting Zone is a baseball and softball training facility available for use by the Warriors teams and the public. It is located on the southern edge of the campus in Ina. Once the expansion project is completed, the Hitting Zone will no longer be exclusive to pitchers, catchers and batters.
The addition to the facility will effectively double its size and will make it available for the training purposes of additional RLC sports teams; such as the basketball, wrestling, dance, volleyball, cheerleading and tennis teams.
The RLC Board of Trustees approved in September to begin bidding procedures for three geothermal HVAC heating and cooling units to be installed in the Hitting Zone addition. The units, estimated at $62,595, will be partly grant funded.
After the expansion project is completed, the Hitting Zone will house regulation basketball,, volleyball and tennis courts; three new locker rooms and offices; a new training room; a second-floor softball batting cage; and additional storage.
“The goal on the interior is to have all of our rooms nearly completed and our hand rail, on the second floor, fully completed by the end of October,” Shively said. “We plan to put multi-layer coating on the open area in the first week of November.”
The open area will consist of one court with different colored lines to represent the varying boundaries in basketball, tennis and volleyball, he added.
Exciting additions to the RLC campus don’t stop there. A landscaping project on the north side of campus is close to being completed.
The project began in the summer of 2005 to enhance the attractiveness of the campus and extend an inviting aesthetic to visitors of the college. According to Shively, administrators wanted to make a lasting first impression on visitors by renovating the three entrances to the campus. The brand-new Applied Science Center, with beautiful landscaping, took care of the west end, which left the north and south entrances as focal points for improvement.
The north entrance was once “barren and plain” before the ongoing renovations, said Shively.
Now, a tall fence hides the automotive instruction department on the south side of the vocational building, pompous grass is growing on the lawn, an irrigation system is installed to foster future growth and perennials in tiered brick catch the visitor’s eye and grab the viewer’s attention. Accent lighting, which is currently being completed, will illuminate the landscaping renovations at night.
The grass will be greener on the opposite side of campus as well, according to Shively.
The next landscaping project calls for the south entrance to be revamped by placing the same level of quality upgrades all around the Administration Building on campus.
“When you arrive at Rend Lake College from the south, that part of the campus will grab your attention,” Shively said.
For additional information on any or all of these endeavors, contact Shively at 618-437-5321, ext. 1256.