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ASU shares indoor track highlights

Posted: Friday, Feb 22nd, 2013

Bill Mansheim, left, and Jacqueline Vigil, right, discuss one of the studies performed in conjunction with the proposed High Altitude Training Center with Adams State's neighbor Brenda Marchildon, center. Courier photo by Ruth Heide

Courier editor

ALAMOSA — Soon scheduled for bid, Adams State University’s proposed High Altitude Training Center generated comments and questions from neighbors and community members Thursday night.

ASU hosted an informational session regarding the $3.5 million 81,600-square-foot air-supported dome that will be located west of Plachy Hall’s parking lot. The project includes resurfacing that parking lot.

The city planning commission will hold a hearing next Wednesday, Feb. 27, regarding a height variance for the 67-foot-tall facility. The height of the training center would be a few feet higher than the highest portion of the new ASU stadium.

Questions Thursday night revolved around height, light, noise, landscaping, insulation, longevity and power. Comments included support for the facility’s capacity to draw economic development and provide additional space for athletes to train.

ASU Vice President of Financing and Governmental Relations Bill Mansheim explained the history, design and purpose of the indoor track and training center and answered audience questions along with Facility Services’ Jacqueline Vigil.

Mansheim said the concept for the High Altitude Training Center began a few years ago with Cross Country/Track Coach Damon Martin who wanted to a facility with an indoor track. ASU began its indoor track program last year and recently won the national men’s title, but ASU could not host events because it did not have a facility that would accommodate NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sanctioned events, Mansheim explained.

“This facility will do that.”

ASU would host about five track meets a year and would have the capability with this center to host RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) championships, NCAA events and even nationals, Mansheim said.

The High Altitude Training Center will encompass a six-lane indoor 200-meter track with eight-lane straightaway, Mansheim explained. It will have netting on the inside that will drop down and cross the indoor turf area in the center so athletes in other sports can practice while Martin’s runners are using the track. That will be further divided in half so two sports could be training in the center.

“We really need a facility to accommodate practices as well,” Mansheim said.

He said ASU has more than 700 student athletes, and currently they are jammed in the Plachy Hall fieldhouse for practices from early in the morning until late at night.

The High Altitude Training Center would also host the high altitude training program. That program began last summer and Martin anticipates 50 participants from around the country this year. Most of those will be college students, but some will be from high schools who will train at ASU for three to six weeks.

Mansheim said the High Altitude Training Center project is scheduled to go to bid later this month or the first part of next month.

Responding to questions from the audience Thursday night, Mansheim said: the dome needs to be 67 feet for structural integrity; the material used for the structure has been tested for wind and snow load, and a weather station on top of Plachy Hall will sense weather changes requiring adjustments to the dome for stability; the heating/air conditioning system will be located at ground level rather than on the roof like other ASU buildings and should not be nosier than other HVAC units; if the power fails, a generator will kick in; the walls up to the top will be opaque so any light “pollution” should be diffused from the top of the dome; the tarp is under a 25-year warranty; the triple-walled fabric has an R value of R8; landscaping will likely be incorporated at a later date; a tunnel will connect the dome to Plachy Hall, where lockers will be located; and the training center will have restrooms.

Alamosa resident Jeff Owsley said, “I am just really excited about it … We have needed to have this for a long time.”

Long-time Alamosa Mayor Farris Bervig said of all the economic development efforts Alamosa has undertaken in the past, Adams State provides the greatest success story in drawing people in for athletic training and competitions.

“The best thing we have going for this community is Adams State University,” he said.

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