Diamond Jenness Secondary School isn’t the only thing getting a makeover this year.
The DJSS track, which has played host to the Northwest Territories Track and Field Championships since 1991, will be modified this year due to the construction of the school’s new trade centre.
“It certainly is a different look out there,” Tim Borchuk, the event’s co-coordinator, said last week.
While the high jump pit will remain more or less in the same location at the northeast side of the track, it will be re-orientated to face north to south. Bleachers will be installed at both ends for fans, Borchuk said.
“That’s a nice option,” he said.
To accommodate that change, one long jump pit and one triple jump pit will be eliminated in the northeast corner of the track. The triple jump pit will not run east-to-west at the north end of the track, while two new long jump pits will be created in the northwest corner, just south of one of the current long jump pits.
To make room for the new long jump pits the shot put pit will be moved to the south end of the field near the discus cage.
“Historically, athletes tend to be in both of those events,” Borchuk explained. “It will give them one area where they can congregate.”
Borchuk said organizers were able to make the changes while maintaing the number of pits. The changes may work out to be more fan-friendly, he added.
“But they’ll be a little more condensed around the track area,” Borchuk said.
The location of the new centre was selected well in advance in order to best accommodate the track meet, Borchuk explained.
“Our town is the track meet town,” he said. “Anything we do has to be right on the ball, and on the money, to put on this meet.”
Work was originally planned for two weeks ago, but rainy weather delayed the start of construction. Borchuk, Joe Leblanc, J.J. Hirst and Bob White staked out the new pits early last week, while construction began on May 19. Borchuk called it “a community project,” explaining that Arcan Construction, Rowe’s Construction and Eagle 88 are all involved in the construction of the new pits.
“The local contractors are being awesome,” he said. “They know track and field means everything to us and they’re going to have it done before it goes.”
While a lot of work goes into making every meet a success, Borchuk said it is also one of the most exciting times of the year. This year, representatives from Athletics Canada have been invited to attend and will be hosting some youth camps during the week. Organizers have also asked them to examine the meet for areas for improvement. With so many athletes involved in the sprinting events, Borchuk admitted one option might be the use of electronic timing for future events.
“Is there something out there that we can make everybody’s lives easier and make just a better meet,” he said.