Funding partners celebrate formal opening of all-weather track

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Student representatives Reid Fritzke from Swift Current and Maple Creek's Keanna Bennett assisted officials from the Chinook School Division and City of Swift Current in ceremonially unveiling the new all-weather track at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School during a May 28 ceremony.

Swift Current's all-weather track was christened with a brief formal ceremony in the midst of the SWAC District Track and Field Meet on May 28.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held midway through the District track championship, with 330 students competing for top placings in order to represent the South West Athletic Conference at the SHSAA Track Championships this past weekend.

Representatives from the City of Swift Current and the Chinook School Division shared the cost of the track, and both highlighted the benefits of the new amenity for students and regional residents.

"It's a huge feather in the cap for Swift Current, and the entire Southwest whose going to be able to take advantage of this. Not only does it add to our list of great facilities for recreation in Swift Current and Southwest Saskatchewan, but it's another great example of a good partnership between the City and the Chinook School Division," Mayor Jerrod Schafer said following the formal ribbon cutting.

"Obviously it's going to attract meets to our community. I think it's going to increase the profile of Track and Field for young people in our community. Obviously the initial plan was hopefully it would help us get the Summer Games, but it may certainly in the future. So lots of aspects around young athletes. But this is now a public facility. I've had the opportunity to utilize the track myself and I hope there's a lot of folks in Swift Current, whether it's young families or seniors that are looking to be active, this is a tremendous surface to walk or run on. It's something we all get to benefit from."

At a cost of $1.3 million, both sides shared the costs of construction for the all weather track.

"It's probably not a price tag that either one organization would have been able to do on their own, but by working together it's now something that our community has," Schafer said.

Chinook School Board Chairman Randy Beler agreed the new track will have important benefits, and the board is pleased with the partnership which made the track a reality.

"It's a great thing to have alright," Beler said from track side. "The board was looking at this for a while, but we didn't have the means to do it. By partnering with the City we split the cost and now we have the track and of course it benefits all the students in the Southwest, and it benefits the residents as well. And the nice thing is it'll bring in other venues to the city, so it's kind of a win all the way around."

The track will have benefits to fitness opportunities provided through the schools, but students will also be learning about life long fitness and the importance of exercise. These lifestyle opportunities are not just limited to school aged individuals.

"Now that we've had the grand opening, as people will become more aware of it… I think more people will show," Beler said.

Beler said the school division has no regrets over the price tag of the amenity.

"It's always a concern when you build something what's it going to cost, but if you say we'll hold off to next year or the year after, all of a sudden the cost escalates. So the sooner you can do it the better. And that's why we really commend the City for working with us on this. We couldn't have done it on our own," he said.

"When you approve projects, expenditures always are a concern. But it's a concern because at the time it might seem like a fair bit of money, but when you look at the longevity of the track and the savings down the road in long term costs it's actually very cheap.

"We'll have this track here for years and decades to come. So when you look at it that way the cost goes right down."

Organizations: Chinook School Division, City of Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current, Southwest Saskatchewan

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