Griffiths Stadium is showing its age, and local track enthusiasts are vocalizing a need to fix or replace it, rather than close it.
It’s where David Blackburn runs on his lunch hour, where he ran in elementary school and where his kids now run.
“It’s something that is special for those kids. They come and run their city championships at the track, rather than in the back grass of the field or whatever,” Blackburn said.
But the track at the University of Saskatchewan‘s Griffiths Stadium is worn out. Every year, the school pays $20,000 to $30,000 to patch holes.
“It won’t be long until they’ll have to start repairing it like that,” said track and field enthusiast Dennis Beerling.
Beerling, a Saskatchewan sports Hall of Famer, fears future renovations at Griffiths Stadium could eliminate the track. He says a new one would cost $1.5 million.
“We’re the largest city in the province. We have only one track and we won’t have any soon,” Beerling said.
He spoke to a city committee Monday, urging them to consider a new outdoor, all-weather track and field facility. Options will be laid out in a future report to council.
“We have to be looking at what’s possible between the city, the university and with user groups to ensure that we still have an outdoor track facility in Saskatoon,” said Ward 10 Coun. Zach Jeffries.
But the university says there are no final decisions about the future of the Griffiths Stadium track. It will remain open in 2016 and 2017.
“Going forward, the university is committed to being part of the long-term solution of finding a track for the City of Saskatoon, and we’ll work with our community groups and city officials to make that happen,” said Roger Moskaluke, University of Saskatchewan College of Kinesiology facility manager.
In hopes of giving athletes and their families a place to compete.
“I think, for the city, this is an important place, and again, we’d be sad to see it go,” Blackburn said.
The Saskatoon Field House has an indoor track, but some events like javelin and discus are strictly for the outdoors. Certain high-level meets can only happen on outdoor tracks.