Southampton making strides with track

Published 3:01 pm Saturday, July 18, 2015

As part of an ongoing athletic program improvement project, Southampton County Public Schools will begin Phase 2 of the track within the coming weeks, weather permitting. According to Superintendent Dr. Alvera J. Parrish, the process is moving along quicker than expected as the project met its funding goals.

“It’s going to be beautiful … We are very thankful and appreciative of Franklin-Southampton charities and the Obici Foundation [for their donations of] $68,580 needed for Phase 2,” Parrish said. “It’s real exciting. We’ve been pushing and shoving as a team … in getting this going, and many, many people in the community have been very supportive of this effort in bringing this together.”

The first step — laying asphalt — was completed and commemorated with a ribbon cutting last November.

At that time, head track coach Alfred Charity noted a number of steps were still needed before Southampton could host the first track and field event in school history.

That included the addition of two more lanes, painted lines and the incorporation of a rubberized surface into the current asphalt.

“We had one of only a few dirt tracks in the area, and because of that, we’ve never been able to host an event,” Charity said. “Every meet has been on the road, so it’ll be nice to have something here when the track is completed.”

When Phase 2 is finished, Southampton will be able to host district meets. In order to host regional and state meets, auxiliary units such as pole vaults and sand pits must be purchased.

“It’s going to wonderful for our students,” Parrish said. “We’re kind of leveling the playing field as they compete at the state, regional and other levels.”

There will be another ribbon cutting upon Phase 2’s completion, and she said that the district will keep school personnel informed as to when that will be. There is no timetable for when Phase 3 would begin, as funding goals must first be met.

“We’re going to be seeking additional funding and grant opportunities as we [look to] begin Phase 3,” Parrish said.