Jun. 28, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed
York College students and elected officials broke ground on the first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level track and field that will serve both students and the southeast Queens community.
York College President Berenecea Johnson Eanes was joined by CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodgriuez, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, representatives from City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ office and students from York’s track and field teams for the June 26 ceremony.
Eanes said the college is thankful for the funding provided by the Queens borough president’s office, the city council and the state to make the “long-awaited renovation a reality.”
“We are excited that the new facility not only benefits York College students but the entire community too, as the space will also serve as a recreational site for Southeast Queens families, community groups, and local sports teams,” Eanes said. “The dedication of elected officials and neighboring organizations, who worked in collaboration with the College for more than a decade to make this dream a reality, demonstrates that we are truly One York.”
Slated for completion in June 2024, the $7.8 million 400-meter running track facility will feature a soccer field in its center and long jump runway strips and pole-vaulting opportunities. The new track will also enable the college to host NCAA-level events, such as championships and tournaments.
On the academic front, the new track facility will be a boon to the college’s Physical Education (PE) teaching majors who often select track and field as one of their four required sports classes. In addition, PE majors and students considering joining track and field as team members have an opportunity to develop and acquire the motor learning skills needed for speed, mid-distance and long distance running, long jump, high jump, hurdles, relay races, and field strength and throwing events, such as the shot put, discus, the javelin and hammer.
Rodriguez praised city and state officials for investing in the project.
“When completed, this new track and athletic field at York College will benefit all New Yorkers and keep our student athletes competitive. CUNY campuses are anchors in their communities, providing neighborhoods with libraries for learning, space for conferences and fields for exercise,” Rodriguez said.
According to Adams, the new NCAA-level track and field facility will benefit students, residents, local teams, and all community members for generations to come.
“I’m proud to have allocated significant funding for this important project, and the council will continue to invest in the success of our communities,” Adams said. “Our local athletes and students deserve a track and field worthy of their greatness, and I’m excited for them to follow in the footsteps of Dalilah Muhammad, Natasha Hastings, and many others who hail from southeast Queens.”
City Councilwoman Nantasha Williams extended heartfelt congratulations to the college on the groundbreaking of its new track and field.
“This momentous occasion marks a triumph for our community, providing our talented athletes with a local state-of-the-art facility to showcase their skills and inspire generations to come,” Williams said.
Referring to York College as a “jewel of the CUNY system,” Richards said the construction of the new, state-of-the-art track and field facility will only enhance the college’s ability to offer a first-class experience to its students.
“The project will also greatly benefit local residents, who have long been in dire need of more recreational facilities,” Richards said. “I’m proud to have allocated $1 million to this effort, as our goal as a borough continues to be ensuring high-quality open space is accessible to all, regardless of ZIP code or socioeconomic status. This project will bring us closer to accomplishing that important mission.”