A new sports complex being built on campus establishes new homes for almost all of Palomar’s sports teams.
However, women’s track and field is being left without a field and have to make do with what they currently have: a track unfit to host track competitions.
Women’s cross country and track and field Head Coach Jennifer Williams said that it was disappointing to be in the early plans of the complex and then to be taken out last minute.
“Having a track would definitely benefit the whole school (by) creating a meeting spot for the community and helping the team flourish,” Williams said.
Palomar College President Robert Deegan said he recognized the lack of the track field but the current budget and location of the fields were hindrances in implementing the field into the current plan. He added that the plan could change.
According to Deegan, the new sports complex, known as the Athletics Kinesiology project, is being funded by the 2006 publicly approved bond measure Prop M. The project relocates the current sports facilities on the south end of campus facing West Mission Road and places them onto the northern part of campus on Parking Lot 9 by the Borden Road entrance.
Chris Miller, the director of facilities for Palomar, said the total project budget is $67 million with an estimated completion date of Fall 2020.
The project includes upgrades of new tennis courts and a women’s softball field, aquatic replacements with two new pools for both competitions and kinesiology, a general practice field as well as a new gymnasium to replace the Dome, Miller said.
According to Miller, the already existing soccer field, Minkoff Field, and the baseball field, currently underway and slated for completion for the spring baseball season, will meet new additions on campus that will include sand volleyball courts and a competitive football field.
The new football field will create a home for Palomar’s football team. It will host team games on campus and replace the current location of their games played at Escondido High School. The field will include spectator seating on both sides of the field as well as a press box. One aspect missing however, is the lack of a track field generally accompanied around the confines of a football field.
Sarah Martinez, a freshman on the track team, said the track is needed and the college should find the money and land.
“It would be nice to have a track where we can do our workouts instead of doing our speed workouts on the soccer field,” Martinez said. “I definitely think they should invest in a track.”
Williams noted that Palomar is the only North County track team who has a women’s team but no men’s team. Although their women’s team has fewer runners, the team has successfully placed at conferences year after year and sends at least one athlete to the state championship, Williams said.
Track athlete Jessica Betancourt said that the disadvantage of not having a track undermines, “the mentality and the level of respect in the aspect of equipment (for the team).”
“If we’re taken seriously by the school then we are taken seriously as athletes.”
Revisions are always possible, Miller said. There are several structures that need to be built first before re-examining the addition of the track. These structures include a new Child Development Center by Minkoff Field and a 1,500 space parking structure as a replacement in its current location near Parking Lot 12.
Deegan agreed with the possibility of the track.
“When we look at this area, I keep thinking, how big is the track?” he said. “If we have already gone this far, how big is the track? When we specifically go into this we may ask, ‘Can you take another look at it and see what you can do?’”