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The Facility

By Steve Vaitones

Reggie Lewis Athletic Facility It was a long time coming but fulfillment of decades of dreams when the $17 million Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Facility opened its doors in July 1995. The building, officially opened and dedicated on November 5, 1995, is named for the late Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis, a graduate of Boston's Northeastern University and a popular community contributor.

Discussion and planning of a state owned and constructed track facility began in 1958 after the demolition of Boston's East Newton Street Armory, but years of politics and questions over site and structure were not put to rest until groundbreaking on the campus of Roxbury Community College in October 1993. Much credit must be given to the late Bob McIntyre, a founder of the Massachusetts Track Coaches Association in 1955, who took part in the original planning and saw the project through all the years of hopes and setbacks.

Though a gymnasium, fitness center, exercise studios, and seminar rooms are included in the complex, they were all built around the state-of-the-art track. Viewing the venue from the second floor meeting room observation windows and the foyer balcony across from the State High School Coaches Association office, one marvels at the site.

Reggie Lewis Athletic FacilitySix lanes of alternating light and dark blue Mondo cover the wood based 200 meter track. Permanently banked at a comfortable 24" at lane six, the track is suitable for both regular training and all levels of racing. It has proven to be lightning fast. The oval surrounds an eight lane sprint straightaway, and an additional five practice sprint lanes are available when the homestretch grandstands are rolled back.

Mondo stretches from wall to wall, serving as runways for all jumps and the landing area for the one permanent and several portable throwing circles.

Conduit carries all necessary computer and timing cables under the floor, eliminating clutter. The building is wired for both a networked on-line clerking and check-in computer system, as well as for a FinishLynx automatic timing system. All of this is surrounded by 3000 seats and covered by a sky-lit roof providing plenty of natural light.

Reggie Lewis Athletic FacilityBuilt as a "schoolboy" track facility (remember, it was first conceived in 1958), the Reggie Lewis Facility gives a permanent home to the city and state scholastic programs. Scheduling and policy continue to be fine-tuned. Boston schools finally have a permanent practice and competitive home as they run every weekday afternoon, and other groups come in almost every evening. Major scholastic meets previously scattered to local colleges, from Freshman/ Sophomore meets to all-state and New England titles, fill the weekend schedule from late December through early March. Community and club practice time fills in available open slots. Major events have been gravitating to the facility since it opened. The National Scholastic Meet was held here for three years as a showcase of high school talent from around the country, and produced numerous scholastic best performances. The USATF National Masters Indoor Championships will be conducted here for the eighth year in a row with nearly 200 world and US masters records recorded here at "Reggie".

Stepping up yet another few notches, the NCAA Division II National Indoor Meet, hosted by the ECAC, has settled in as a fixture on the second weekend in March since 1999. The adidas Boston Indoor Games, part of USATF's Golden Spike Tour, has likewise found a home where the nation's and world's elite can showcase talents; many USA and World Records have come from this meet, arguably among the nation's top indoor meets.

The "crowning jewel" for the facility, though, is the arrival of the USA National Indoor Championships for a two year stay in 2003 and 2004. The meet serves as the USA selection meet for the IAAF World Indoor Championships for both years, and having the best in the US visit the facility contributes to the growth of the sport in Boston, in Massachusetts, and in New England.

Built first and foremost for track, the Reggie Lewis facility provides a facility unrivaled nationwide for scholastic activities, and will contribute to the growth of the sport in Boston, in Massachusetts, and in New England.

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