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A Track and a Field

Indoor Athletic Facility increases options for practice, competition on campus

Indoor Athletic Facility exterior

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021

In a normal December, track and field and basketball are in full swing. Fall sports are hoping for postseason play, and spring sports might be starting practice even though there is often snow on the ground. Lee Arena can get crowded as teams look for a warm and dry place to practice. The need for an indoor facility was becoming more evident as Washburn University added men’s and women’s track and field and junior varsity basketball. And all sports needed to practice during inclement weather.

In November, when the ribbon was cut at Washburn University with the opening of the new Indoor Athletic Facility, it signaled fruition of many dreams. The football, soccer, track and field, baseball and softball teams will now have places to practice indoors, and Washburn and the city of Topeka will have a new building to host indoor track and field competitions. As indoor facilities become the norm for NCAA Division I schools and only a few DII schools, Washburn’s facility will stand out as the only DII school with a banked track and one of the few facilities in the Midwest to have such a feature – an amenity that helps runners maintain a high speed when negotiating turns.

Indoor Athletic Facility interior

The $20 million facility has two main sections, one with a 200-meter, six-lane banked track, and the other with a 110-yard synthetic turf practice field which is 50-yards wide for football, women's soccer, baseball and softball to practice. Lines are painted to accommodate all those sports, and nets can drop down for batting and pitching practice. The track portion of the facility will also have areas for field and weight events along with permanent and portable bleacher structures. The new building, which sits on the south side of campus between the softball and baseball fields, has 146,315 square feet of finished floor space.

“This facility will be a game-changer for athletics,” Director of Athletics Loren Ferré said. “It will help us with recruiting, it will bring a tremendous amount of events that we will be able to host on this campus, and I think it will be a game-changer for the campus and the city of Topeka.”

“I know many of you have dreamt about this project for years.” said President Jerry Farley. “This is something very special. Few universities, particularly Division II universities, can boast of a facility like this.”

Farley, in his 24th year, knows how powerful great facilities can be on a college campus and how advantageous it is to have a prosperous athletic program. He has overseen upgrades to every athletic facility on campus while also leading building projects that enhanced academics and student life at Washburn.

“We all recognize athletics play an important role in our country, our culture and certainly on university campuses,” he said. “Almost always, athletes are great students; they earn good grades, are engaged in campus life and serve the community.

“Each day at practice, they learn the values we truly believe in here at Washburn University. They define our campus: hard work, leadership, teamwork, how to face and overcome adversity.”

Speaking for the coaches, more than 400 student-athletes and thousands of fans, Ferré expressed the excitement for getting teams into the facility.

“Until this was built, every one of the teams that will use this facility were in Lee Arena,” Ferré said about times when teams couldn’t practice outdoors. “It was really an incredible thing when you saw four or five sports going at one time.

“We’re excited about the future and what this facility will provide to our student-athletes.”

the Ichabod magazine fall 2021

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. View the current and past editions

 

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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483
Email: contactus@wualumni.org