Emory University’s Department of Athletics and Recreation announced in an email on Oct. 27 that the George W. Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC) outdoor track will close for renovation until May 2024 starting Nov. 20. The stadium seats and varsity soccer field will be unavailable while the track is undergoing renovations.
Director of Recreation and Wellness April Flint wrote in an email to the Wheel that the track surface, which last underwent renovation in 2010, is due for replacement. The closure will particularly impact the Emory men’s and women’s track and field teams, whose winter seasons begin in December, in addition to Emory community members who use the space.
Junior sprinter Jackson Price said athletes will travel approximately a 10-minute drive off campus to another track for practice. He added that the new practice location will make course registration for the Spring 2024 semester more “stressful” because the additional commute time will eliminate more class options than usual.
The indoor track at the WoodPEC will remain open, but Price said that its usage is limited because the track is half as long as the outdoor one.
“We can’t do a ton on [the indoor track],” Price said. “I’m sure we’ll use it more than we would normally do, but I think we’ll just commute out to the [alternative] track.”
Emory women’s soccer freshman defender Jessica Nastasi noted that the track and field athletes will not be the only varsity athletes affected by the closure. Starting in the spring, the soccer team will practice at Kaminski Field, another on-campus recreational facility at the end of Peavine Creek Drive Northeast. Nastasi said Kaminski Field is “not as good quality” as the WoodPEC stadium field.
“They have a lot of intramural teams practicing there,” Nastasi said. “A lot of pick-up games go there — they rip off the field. It’s not as well taken care of as our field, because they really do keep that prepped and ready for our games.”
Junior sprinter Sam Ryba said that while it is “annoying” that renovations are occuring during the track season, they will be “very beneficial for the team down the line.”
“I think a renovation will be very useful, especially when we’re hoping to host our [University Athletic Association] championship next spring outdoors,” Ryba said.