REGGIE LEWIS TRACK & ATHLETIC FACILITY
By Steve Vaitones
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
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
Six 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
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.
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.