MCC Track and Field Center open house set Friday

Meridian Community College’s Track and Field teams have a new place to call home.

The MCC Track and Field Center, located on the northeastern part of campus adjacent to the Smith Soccer Complex, is the newly-completed, 4,961-gross square footage, structure that is now the hub of the College’s track and field programs.

And come Friday, Aug. 31, community residents are welcomed to attend a ribbon cutting and open house to take a closer look at the MCC’s campus latest building addition. Ceremonies will begin 10 a.m.

MCC President Dr. Thomas H. Huebner Jr. is excited about the opening of this newest structure on campus.  “Not only will this center benefit our student athletes, but it will also help our coaches sell our brand as a team and the college as a whole.”

“This new facility allows our student-athletes to have something they can call their own,” said MCC Head Track and Field Coach Chip Gayden. Not just a place to put their belongings during practice, Gayden said, the new track and field center “allows them to build team chemistry with locker rooms for both our men’s and women’s teams.”

Three offices, a conference room, a trainer’s room, restrooms and storage complete the facility for some 60 student-athletes. “The training room is equipped with an ice machine and ice bath that allow our team to have everything from a recovery standpoint in one central location that is right off the track and right by their locker rooms,” Gayden said.

“I think you would be hard pressed to find a finer community college track and field facility,” said Sander Atkinson, MCC associate dean for student services and athletic director. “It’s a beautiful building with the space to serve the program well into the future.”

The MCC Track and Field Center is just another one of the many team efforts, on-campus projects in which MCC students and staff have been centrally involved. Several career and technical education programs contributed to this structure, too, including the Construction Trades, Electrical Technology, Systems Based Electronics Engineering Technology and Telecommunications Technology.

“Students receive classroom instruction and through this project are able to get hands-on, applied training,” said Dr. Richie McAlister, associate vice president for workforce education. “Applied learning,” he said, “enhances students’ participation and ability in getting and keeping a job in the workforce.”

Specifically, the work completed by students covers a variety of jobs – from top to bottom, inside and out. Construction Trades students built 102-foot lockers and created art pieces for a feature wall. The LED light fixtures, overhead fans, electrical boxes and panels were installed by Electrical Technology Program students. The Systems Based Electronics/Engineering and Telecommunications students worked in concert together to install Ethernet cabling, telephones, security cameras and Wi-Fi access points.

The MCC Physical Plant, led by Adam Foreman, also contributed to the project as well as telecommunications and media production center personnel. Huebner noted, “This latest, on-campus facility is a shining example of what great work can result when MCC students and staff work together for a common goal.”

Gayden couldn’t be happier with the new place. “The facility is unlike and unmatched by any track and field team in the National Junior College Athletic Association and many National Collegiate Athletic Association teams.  It gives us the ability to show the history of the program and also the achievements that the program’s alums, and current student-athletes have achieved.  It also allows us to show recruits the commitment and support that MCC has to not just our program, but to athletics as a whole.   We always talk about what makes our program unique from all of the others in recruiting, and this facility makes us unique,” he added.

When Gayden came on board to lead the MCC Track and Field teams five years ago, he said he was excited about having a track on campus. “Having this facility now makes us unique in the recruiting process. It allows us as a program to have a central location with the track just steps away from the locker rooms.”

He added the facility will also serve as a way to show the achievements of both past and present teams. Gayden said, “The history of this program is really remarkable with two national championships and three runner-up finishes, four Olympians and several collegiate record holders.”