Asbury breaks ground on multi-purpose track facility

Published 3:44 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

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In 133 years of instruction, Asbury University has never had a track and field team. Students have been able to participate in club races throughout the years but never had a track on campus.

The university held a groundbreaking on Wednesday, Jan. 18, to celebrate its new track and field team and the construction of a new multi-use outdoor facility. Fundraising took several months, and Asbury’s Institutional Advancement team raised $5 million for phase one of the project.

This month, contractor D.W. Wilburn, Inc. will begin construction on an eight-lane track, a turf field, lighting, and fencing. This phase of the project will be finished in September 2023, allowing the team to start competing in intercollegiate races for the first time.

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Regarding the team itself, Head Track and Field Coach O’Brian Bridges started working at Asbury in August 2022 to begin recruiting for fall 2023.

Bridges said he had a lot of fun building a team. Now that construction is beginning, he considers this an “exciting time, you know to finally see the groundbreaking after months and months of meetings and preparation, to see the groundbreaking is just really exciting.”

Phase two will complete the project with spectator seating, locker rooms, public restrooms, and a multi-use press box/event space. The university is currently fundraising for it.

Asbury President, Dr. Kevin Brown, opened the event with a speech to the crowd of student-athletes, coaches, and other attendees.

“I want to thank you for your patience, and it is very much our hope that the inconveniences associated with construction will be more than made up for by a finished product that can be used and enjoyed by our community members,” he said.

This facility is not only for the new track team. Brown said he would like to see concerts, chapel gatherings, and commencement held at the multi-use facility.

“We want the outdoor venue to be a gift to this community. It is our confidence that it will be enjoyed by Wilmore residents and the larger surrounding central Kentucky area,” Brown said.

Asbury Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics & University Communications, Mark Whitworth, listed some ways students and the community will use this facility in the future, besides as the home for the new track and field teams and as a training space for all 17 intercollegiate teams.

“This will be a destination for high school events, for summer camps and youth tournaments. So, the impact is well beyond athletics,” Whitworth said.

Students are looking forward to the facility, even those that won’t be able to utilize it. Senior Carolina Trumpower is an English major, and she’s loved to run since she was a young girl.

“I’ve ran track in high school, and I always wanted to do it in college. But, here at Asbury, they didn’t have it before, so I kind of just did some club races with the team, “ Trumpower said.

She will graduate before being able to run on the track, but she’s still supportive and enthusiastic about the facility.

Trumpower said that being a senior right now “is a bummer, but I’m super excited for all the track runners so they can have this. I’ve been waiting, but I’m really happy that it’s still something that’s going go happen because it was also a dream that I was really excited about.”