Fort Benning Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. – The heavily used running track at Doughboy Stadium will be lengthened to a full quarter mile, get a fresh rubberized surface, and have a drainage system that'll keep it from flooding during rains, officials said this week.
The original track was never a quarter mile – it's 60 feet shy of that – but making it longer will be one of several improvements at the stadium under a $759,000 project that started in August.
The track portion of the work is slated to finish in December, with the rest to be done by April 2021.
"We wanted to get the track done first," said Derick Wolf, chief of the Engineering Division of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Benning's Directorate of Public Works (DPW).
Doughboy Stadium was built in the 1920s, and takes its name from the U.S. Soldiers who served in World War I, who were known as "Doughboys."
"Originally, when the track was built – forever ago, however long ago it's been – it wasn't a complete quarter-mile track," said Lori Smith, chief of Sports, Fitness and Aquatics with USAG Fort Benning's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Extending it will benefit many who take part in athletics, officials said.
"It helps Soldiers training for the run portion of the fitness test by giving them a standard length of track so they can measure themselves, and gauge their improvement over time," said Wolf.
It will also benefit youngsters in Fort Benning's youth athletic programs, Smith said.
Running up and down the stadium's steps is also popular with Soldiers and others because of the added rigor it gives workouts. The steps and pull-up bars will remain available for use during the project.
Besides changes to the track, improvements include a repaving and reshaping of the stadium parking lot, said Wolf.
A broad spectrum of Fort Benning's community uses Doughboy Stadium regularly. Military units use it for morning physical training, for preparing for formal fitness tests, for soccer, flag football and other unit sports competition, and for official ceremonies, said Smith. Youth athletic programs also use it, as do Fort Benning families and others, she said.
Resurfacing the track will make it safer.
"The existing track surface is a rubber material that has significantly degraded over time, and exposed the subsurface," said Wolf. "So we want to come back with a more improved rubber surface, which would reduce the chance of injuries for the Soldiers and family members using the track."
"A brand new surface will make it a lot easier to run, a lot more comfortable to run, a lot safer to run," said Smith.
Besides giving the track a new surface and extended length, workers will also build a drainage system to "keep the water from ponding on the track so people don't slip while they're running," said Jonathan Mack, USAG Fort Benning's design engineer for the project.
"What used to happen," said Smith, "is that it would rain and the track would flood. So you would get this standing water all along the track. But they're adding drainage, so now, when it rains, the water will drain like it's supposed to and not sit on the track."
To make room for the longer track, workers will reshape the stadium's parking lot, repave it, and add several handicapped parking spots.
The reconfiguring will result in safer and easier traffic flow, Wolf said.
The work is being carried out by Columbus Barricade & Safety, of Columbus, Georgia, under contract with the U.S. Army.