Construction is underway on a new track and field facility at the University of Montevallo. With the growth of the university’s athletic department over the past few years, the school has focused on adding the space required for each sport. The recent additions of softball and women’s track and field each require construction to allow the university to host events, and the school has shown its willingness to fund this growth.
Women’s track and field was added over the past few years, and the men are scheduled to begin Peach Belt Conference play next year as an official university sanctioned sport. The team has been very competitive thus far, according to Cross Country and Track and Field Head coach Tommy Barksdale. “So far we’ve held our own, especially with a new program. We have actually done very well, and surprised a lot of people not only ourselves, but other people in our conference and teams around the state.”
The new facility is being built beside the baseball field, at the site of the old campus intramural fields. According to Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Relations Michael Chadwick, the construction is expected to cost $1.4 million, but the university will pay much less. “Basically the university is paying about 30 cents on the dollar. It’s a part of the Montevallo Development Cooperative, so you have the University of Montevallo, the city of Montevallo, and then Shelby County. Those three entities have gotten and formed a partnership,” said Chadwick, “We’ve been able to accomplish some amazing things that I haven’t seen in 20 years here.”
The new track and field complex will not only host regular track meets here on campus, but according to Chadwick, the Peach Belt Conference track and field championship will be held there in the very near future. Alabama state high school championships will be hosted on campus as well, bringing more people to Montevallo.
“The main purpose is to be used by everybody. It is to be used the students on the campus, the surrounding community and also the local high schools that don’t have a track,” said Barksdale.
With the construction of a new facility and the addition of men’s track and field, Barksdale said interest in the University of Montevallo has grown. “It’s gone up a lot, and much of that has to do with getting the new facility in here. A lot of high school coaches are talking about it now,” Barksdale said.
Bringing new people to campus is a large part of why the university continues to grow its borders. Chadwick said he is glad to draw in visitors to the campus that have never been to Montevallo. “Any time you have the opportunity to bring those people on to campus it is almost universal that they say they didn’t know Montevallo was so nice and beautiful. That’s big for us.”