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Focused visions turn long-overdue track plans into reality for Garfield, Southeast and Rootstown

Focused visions turn long-overdue track plans into reality for Garfield, Southeast and Rootstown


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


Garfield’s streak dates back to 2004.

Southeast’s run is from 2008.

For Waterloo, it has been since 2010.

Rootstown’s drought has stretched to 13 years, dating back to April 29, 2009, but finally ended in 2022.

The four Portage County schools shared a similarity in that they were unable to host a home track and field meet because of outdated and unusable facilities.

While the Rovers’ new all-weather track moved them into new territory, the other three are not there yet.

Two will be soon, though.

Both Garfield and Southeast broke ground last week on their new all-weather tracks that are on schedule to be completed by the end of fall, which places them ready in plenty of time to hosts track meets for the 2024 season.

Garfield’s new facility will feature an eight-lane track, along with long jump and pole vault runways, a high-jump pad and an expansive throws facilities that will include two competition shot put and two competition discus rings. The complex will also have a new set of bleachers and designated parking.

“We are extremely excited for our kids and community members,” Garfield athletic director Jim Pfleger said. “The track will be beneficial to so many of our student-athletes and athletic teams.”

For more than a decade, the G-Men have had to practice in school hallways, the parking lot, gymnasiums and in other school facilities.

“The project has been talked about for awhile, but we were finally able to make it happen,” Pfleger said.

At Southeast, its new facility will include a six-lane track, along with the necessary and specific spots for each of the field events.

“We are tremendously excited to get the track put in and complete a project that was long overdue,” Southeast Superintedent Bob Dunn said. “We know it is going to have a huge impact for our school, and we could not have gotten this done without S.P.A.C.E.”

Waterloo has yet to move forward with any plans for a new track facility. Once Garfield’s and Southeast’s facilities are completed, only Waterloo and Windham will remain as the only two schools in Portage County without an all-weather track.

The reason why Garfield, Rootstown, Southeast and Waterloo allowed their track facilities to deteriorate to a point that they became unusable, does not have a clear answer.

Funding, though, was the obvious hurdle to each constructing their new all-weather tracks.

It took focused visions to turn long-overdue plans into a reality.

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