Memorial Stadium track to be resurfaced

Mohamed Bafakih, Contributing Editor

Another step in the modernization process to the Bakersfield College athletics department will soon take place.

Memorial Stadium is having its track resurfaced for the first time in nearly two decades.

“Generally you just resurface the top, but it’s a fairly expensive project,” BC athletic director Sandi Taylor said. “It should be done more regularly than we were able to do it this time, so this is much needed.”

A $6,500,000 bond proposal is pending for the department, which would include a complete new track once approved, but 3-5 years for the bond to be authorized would be too long of a wait for the track’s “poor” condition, per Taylor.

“We don’t have 3-5 years left of life on this track, so we’re resurfacing now to get us to that point,” Taylor said.

Over the past few years, BC has cut down the use of the track in its best attempt to avoid the wear and tear, but with the Western State Conference Finals and a Bakersfield City School District track meet looming next month, this window of opportunity will allow the resurfacing to take place.

The estimated time frame for the track to be finished is approximately 20 working days, barring any conceivable weather delays.

The Bakersfield College track and field teams hosted their BC Relays on March 12 for the final event pre-resurfacing, which had a historical atmosphere on display. With all the footsteps that have been forced into the ground for the past 20-plus years, the latest meet brought members from all walks of different Renegades track and field teams on hand for “The Last Lap” to cherish their moments on the historic surface.

“It [The Last Lap] has only been (promoted) by Facebook and kids telling each other,” track and field head coach Pam Kelley said.

“My daughters Beth and Karla both ran and did the hammer up here,” Carol Nakashima said, whose husband, Glenn, was part of the track team in 1967-68. “We always helped and we just had to come back here for The Last Lap. We brought our grandchildren because they love to run.”

The most bizarre moment, arguably, before the last resurface of the track was when a young drunken driver plowed through the north side of the stadium, down the hill where the BC logo is, and onto the track.

“The kid stole the truck, was drunk, came in and landed the truck upside down on the track,” Kelley reminisced.

The driver wasn’t hurt, but the memories from then continue over into now, and perhaps the new resurface will be home to more glorious and safe moments.