- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana State University has broken ground on a $4.3 million track and field complex along the Wabash River that will become the school’s first new athletic facility in a quarter century.

ISU student athletes jogged into place Monday carrying golden shovels that university administrators, coaches, donors and others used to break ground after a shot was fired from a starter’s pistol, The Tribune-Star reported (http://bit.ly/1riXMGU ).

School officials said the complex along Terre Haute’s riverfront will include a nine-lane track and replace the worn, nearly half-century-old Marks Field. Officials said they hope the complex will serve as a site for competitive meets at the local, regional and national levels.

“It’s going to be great for our athletes to be able to train on this. We’ve just about worn Marks Field out,” said John McNichols, head coach of ISU’s men’s track and cross country teams.

ISU athletic director Ron Prettyman said the new track and field complex will also boost the school’s chances of recruiting top-level student athletes to the western Indiana school.

The first phase will include adding a track with a grassy infield, a separate area for throwing events, storage, restrooms and an entry area, Prettyman said.

The project’s cost is being funded through private donor support, interest income and other sources. When complete, it will become ISU’s first new athletic facility since 1989 and the first major project in Terre Haute’s Riverscape development area.

The new track and field complex is part of ISU’s master plan to move several athletic facilities to the riverfront.

ISU President Dan Bradley said the school, in a partnership with Riverscape, is planning for the sports and recreational area to be linked with extended trails for walking, jogging and biking.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com