Track and field ribbon cutting celebrates community partnership

Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro Health and Kentucky Wesleyan College cut the ribbon on the new Owensboro Track and Field on Wednesday, August 16, located between the Owensboro Middle School South and the Owensboro Middle School North campuses on South Griffith Avenue.  OPS, Owensboro Health and Kentucky Wesleyan College put their financial resources together to make the track possible.

Wesleyan President Barton D. Darrell addresses the crowd. Left to right: Dan Griffith, chair of Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education with board members Nancy Eskridge and Jeremy Edge, President Darrell, Dr. Nick Brake, Owensboro Public Schools superintendent and Steve Johnson, vice president of government and community affairs, Owensboro Health.

“What an incredible day for Owensboro!  This is the perfect example of three entities coming together to provide world-class facilities for Owensboro residents,” said Dr. Nick Brake, OPS Superintendent.

“This is another great example of what education and civic partnerships can do for the institutions themselves and the communities where they are located. We are grateful for the Owensboro Public Schools and, certainly, Owensboro Health for collaborating with us to make this idea a reality,” said Barton D. Darrell, Kentucky Wesleyan President.

The track will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 5-7 a.m. for public use. 

An exact start date for that will be announced later in the year.

“Long-term improvement in the health of our community starts with our children, and that is why children and school health are a priority focus for our system,” said Greg Strahan, president and CEO of Owensboro Health.  

Dr. Nick Brake cuts the ribbon.

“Owensboro Health and the Owensboro Health Foundation make significant investments to support programs and initiatives that can improve the health of our children around the region. The commitment to our community and our children has never been stronger, and I look forward to seeing the impact these programs will have on future generations,” added Strahan.

The Kentucky Wesleyan College track team will have a place to call home under head coach Tony Rowe.

“The impact of this beautiful facility on our athletes should be substantial,” said Tony Rowe, head coach, Wesleyan track and field. “I think we will see not only a significant effect on training and performance, but also a great reduction in injuries.  The track surface and field event venues will lend themselves to excellence and as a result, our program will reap great dividends in the seasons ahead.  We are looking forward to hosting the first intercollegiate track and field meet in Owensboro in the spring.”

The inaugural lap.
Left to right: Gavin Miller (Owensboro High School), Panther Jonathan Johnson (Nevada), Breanna Alderton (Owensboro High School) and Panther Rachel Keeley (Owensboro).

In addition to the OMS and OHS track and cross country teams using the facility, the OMS football and soccer teams will play on the turf field located in the center of the track.

“I can’t wait to come out to the facility and watch our student-athletes compete on some of the nicest facilities in the state.  This kind of complex is a game changer for Owensboro,” added Brake.