Repairs to Have Field Meet NCAA Standards
By Clifford Michel
CSI administrators and Assemblyman Michael Cusick announced $1 million in funding to upgrade the College’s track and field facilities. The renovations will allow CSI’s Athletics Department to eventually add official men and women’s track and field teams to their ranks.
The current track and field was constructed in 1994 and sports cracks and holes along its pavement.
While it remains a popular destination for members of the CSI community to jog, its lack of key facilities and unseemly state has prevented CSI from creating track and field teams.
“You may think we have a facility here, but I’m told at best we have a jogging track that really isn’t up to NCAA standards,” said CSI President William J. Fritz, alongside more than 20 student athletes at a press conference on September 14.
“So the entire complex needs to be redone so that we can compete at the Division III NCAA level. Additionally, the improved facilities will provide the perfect place for the College and the community to exercise and to improve health and wellness, something that I think is fitting giving our outdoor campus.”
The oval circle of grass within the track will be reconfigured to include shot put, discus, hammer throw, long jump, triple jump, and high jump. The entire surface of the track will also be completely repaved and bleacher seats to accommodate up to 500 more spectators will be added.
Cusick, who ran track in both high school and college, said that he uses the track on a regular basis but that the facility is far behind what a college needs to support athletes and the campus community.
“The track is a focal point of the campus when you drive up, as it is for any athletic facility. So the need for rehabbing it is big,” Cusick, told The Banner. “And we also want to encourage a track and field team at the College; one that can be able to compete on its home turf.”
The funds were allocated from a slice of New York State’s discretionary budget given to Staten Island state lawmakers for projects in their communities.
Cusick told The Banner that a decision of how to use funds for the College was decided during an annual legislative breakfast hosted by CSI every January, where administrators advocated for funding for the track.
“This isn’t the only need, there are many capital needs on the campus,” said Cusick. “But this is a need that I would be able to fill as immediately as possible so that’s the one that our office chose.”
There is currently no estimated timeline for the track’s renovation. Other College projects funded by government, such as a Media Culture screening room, have been held up in the past.
“This is something that we’ve thought for a long time that we have a resource here but it’s just not equipped to host NCAA meets,” said Charles Gomes, CSI’s Athletic Director. “And we were hoping that if we were able to do that we can increase our number of competitive NCAA teams from 14 to 16.”
The announced renovations come on the heels of the New York City Council announcing funds to renovate the College’s soccer complex.
Gomes said that the next goal for the college’s athletic department is to convert all of its outdoor properties to turf.
“We have a lot of projects we want to do at the college, ideally we would like to turf everything because it’s much easier to maintain,” said Gomes. “When there’s bad weather, it’s much easier to make the field playable quickly as opposed to if we get rain now we can’t make it playable for two or three days.”