KINGSTON, R.I. - The Mackal Fieldhouse indoor track renovation is almost near completion, Art Tuveson, Assistant AD of Management & Planning recently told GoRhody.com.
The $1.4 million project began in October 2011 and is expected to be finished “right around the end of finals,” Tuveson said.
Court floors are in the process of being marked, with the basketball courts having black lines, the volleyball having white and the tennis having green. The track will soon have lane lines as well and all of the equipment will be brought back into play, including hurdles, circles for throwing, high jumps, etc.
The facility will open after break in January 2012, with both the men and women’s track & field teams being the first to use it, “which is only justifiable seeing as though it’s their facility,” Tuveson said.
"We are very excited about reopening the Mackal Recreation Center with a brand new surface,” Thorr Bjorn, Director of Athletics said. “This will benefit not only our very successful men's and women's track teams, but will once again service as a fantastic recreational sports facility.
“We are grateful to the many people within the University who secured to funds to make this possible as well as the many individuals involved with the planning and redesign. This new surface is state of the art and will once again provide URI with the best indoor track facility in the Atlantic 10," Bjorn continued.
When Mackal opened in 1991, it featuring a six-lane, 200-meter indoor track with eight lanes on the straight-aways and four basketball courts inside. It had been refurbished in December 2002.
The University of Rhode Island chose to upgrade the track from urethane surfacing to Mondo surfacing, Mondo FTX specifically, which Tuveson said is world-renowned. The 2008 Beijing Olympic track was Mondo FTX and the 2012 London Olympic track will be Mondo FTX.
“The eight previous Olympics prior to Beijing were Mondo’s Super X. Mondo FTX is the newest version of Super X. The fact that it’s been used in the last 10 Olympic games, speaks yards.”
Tuveson explained that the previous track surface was urethane. Urethane is a mixture, needing to be poured together and squeegeed, before self-leveling out. Urethane has some advantages, but Mondo has more.
“Over time the track wears. Your inside lanes are going to wear faster, but your runways, your takeoffs for high jump and for pole vault - those are all going to wear,” Tuveson said.
“Because urethane is a mixture, you have to go mix another batch to match colors. And you’re never going to match the color exactly with a new mixture. It’s just not that easy.
“(With Mondo) the colors are constant and, because it’s sheets of surface, it’s actually rolled out, not poured. It’s rolled out and glued down. The seams are butted – you don’t even know they are there. On a high-wear area, if lane one is worn, you can just take out that strip and put a new one in. You don’t have to replace the whole track,” Tuveson said.
Mondo has numerous economic features, it has color consistencies and the product is superior to anything else out there, Tuveson continued.
“Maintenance-wise, it’s great for us. Cost-wise it’s going to give us better value. Although it costs more initially, we’re going to get more wear out of it. With urethane, we would be lucky to get 10 good years. This will last us 15 or 16.
“We fought for this high-end surface based on all of the banners out there on the wall,” Tuveson said of the both the men’s and women’s track & field team’s numerous accomplishments.
Tuveson said that the new Mondo track will allow URI’s two track teams – as well as the entire student body – to train and compete on the best level of surface. He noted that the Mondo’s flexibility and bounce will also save on shins, legs and ankles.
“We feel like we’re getting the best product on the market,” Tuveson continued. “That’s going to help our athlete’s performance and it’s going to help their health. As far as the student body goes, we’re giving them a great facility as well. The floor inside the track that can be used for basketball, volleyball and tennis.”
The University of Rhode Island is also excited about the new indoor track because the school is once again hosting the Atlantic 10 Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 17 and 18.
“The fact that we will have the new track in time for the A-10 Championship is great for everyone,” Tuveson said. “It's always nice to compete for a conference championship at your home facility. You look at all of our championship banners on the wall there, and it’s pretty impressive.”