The Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence has plenty going for it – an all-weather sports field, high-tech sports laboratories, an old camper converted to a cardio heat chamber. Only a running track has remained un-ticked on its wish list.
Until now. Or two years from now.
The sports centre based at Camosun College Interurban announced a gift to itself for its five-year-anniversary: a four-lane, 400-metre athletics track circling its sports field, plus a 100 metre straightaway extension, and spectator seating. The project is expected to cost $600,000.
“PISE has always intended to have a training track around the existing field. An outline for the track is there,” said PISE CEO Robert Bettauer. “This project is key to completing PISE. As a sports institute we need a premier track.”
At four lanes, the track would have half the lanes needed for athletics competition, but it could act as a training track for high-performance athletes. Bettauer envisions the facility as an ancillary site for track and field meets held, for instance, at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium.
Bettauer noted that the price of an eight-lane track is three-times as expensive due to having to relocate light standards and blasting and levelling a rock outcrop. The institute has $100,000 for the project and is looking to raise $1 million for the track and to build a cover over 2,000 square feet of the 9,000 square foot outdoor training patio.
Part of the motivation for a track, he said, is to attract more national athletic programs to the city. High-performance athletes in triathlon, middle-distance running, swimming, men’s rowing, and rugby train in Victoria.
“Per capita we have more high-performance athletes than any other part of Canada,” he said. “We have the climate and the quality of life. A training track at PISE will help high-performance groups decide where to set up.”
The track will be a durable, rubberized surface, but Bettauer said the institute would consult with athletics organizations, sports engineers and the public on the optimal surface structure.
He suggested it might make sense to match the make of UVic’s track.
PISE is aiming to have the track built by 2015, or 2014 if the funding comes through. It would be wheelchair accessible for para-athletes and open for use by the public and members of PISE. The institute will be hunting for funding from government, private business and the community.
“We feel after five years we’ve established a strong reputation and a lot of credibility,” Bettauer said. “Victoria realizes PISE is an important entity to access physical activities and to improve community life.”