Nick Rodger, a senior project manager with the Yukon Department of Community Services, explains progress made on the new F.H. Collins High School track during at a press conference at the school on Aug. 30. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Sports field project at F.H. Collins High School on track

Work won’t be done in time to train for the Western Canada Summer Games: Athletics Yukon director

The new track and field development at F.H. Collins Secondary School is plugging along according plan, according to those in charge of the project.

At a press conference at the school on Aug. 30 Nick Rodger, a senior project manager with the Yukon Department of Community Services said the cost has come at $7.7 million, all in.

That’s slightly lower than the projected costs that were pegged back in March at $8.1 million in federal and provincial funding over two years.

The track ring is being upgraded to international standards, accommodating eight lanes of rubberized running room, measured at 400 metres.

Inside will be a 68-by-108 metres up-to-snuff soccer field.

“The artificial turf will extend the season, so you’ll be able to clear it off in the spring and use it right away,” Rodger said.

Asked if the rubber track will freeze up during wintertime, Rodger said he “doesn’t think so.”

On Aug. 30, heavy machinery sat in a large trench. Next on the docket is to bury the power lines to make way for additional amenities like bleachers and preserve trees that abut the field.

Shot put, two long jump pits and a high jump are going in, too.

“It’s going to be a great piece, and it’ll help attract summer games type activities to the Yukon,” said Rick Kent, senior operations manager, adding that completion date is forecasted to be late July or August of next year.

To Don White, director and head coach at Athletics Yukon, that’s not soon enough.

With the Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current, Sask. approaching next year White was hoping athletes could have a facility to prepare on. The games begin the second week of August.

“We have kids that have trained on surfaces they don’t compete on,” he said, noting that they’re at disadvantage because of this. “It’s been either grass or gravel.”

Athletics Yukon has been pushing for this project since the mid 1980s, White said.

“It’s been mostly informal because we know the expense and everything like that, but every once and a while the money would become available” and it would be used for facilities like a skate park instead, he said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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