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Boise State looks to sell indoor track equipment. Olympian Dragila raises concerns

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Boise State University is angling to sell its indoor track equipment, despite the concerns of an Idahoan gold medalist, among others.

The university posted the Jackson Indoor Track equipment for sale on July 15, according to Joe Nickell, the school’s associate athletic director. The listed price is $350,000 for the equipment.

“Boise State University is looking to sell a Mondo Portable Track Surface,” the ad in the Idaho Statesman reads. “The portable track is in good condition with a couple lanes needing repair. The track will be sold ‘as-is, where is, with all faults’ and without representation or warranty.”

The track equipment is housed in a complex near the Idaho Center in Nampa. The university purchased the equipment in 2002 with a $250,000 donation from John D. Jackson, the president of Jackson Food Stores. In 2012, the site hosted the NCAA National Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Concerns

Courtesy Save the Jackson Indoor Track Committee

Some in the community are concerned about the sale of the track.

Almost a year ago, Stacy Dragila first voiced her concern that the university might sell the track to an out-of-state buyer, as KTVB reported at the time.Dragila won a gold medal in pole vaulting at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia.

In an interview with BoiseDev earlier this month, Dragila said she felt the university hasn’t been as transparent as it could have been in letting the community know it no longer wanted the track, saying she believed the community was “blindsided.”

She said she is worried the university will sell the track equipment to an out-of-state buyer, and thus opportunities for youth who want to participate in track and field will disappear from the Treasure Valley.

“A lot of the community still doesn’t know about it,” she told BoiseDev. “…I don’t think people realize what can happen very quickly.”

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She said she is concerned Boise State might not have cared for it properly, nor does she believe it is worth $350,000. While she said Mondotrack – the company that made the university’s equipment – is well known in the track and field world as a premiere running surface, she thinks the university could have compromised the integrity of the equipment by caring for it improperly.

“I like the track,” she said. “I think they’re trying to sell it for way too much.”

Nickell said the university had a local Mondotrack official provide an estimate for the track’s worth.

“Although there was no formal appraisal, a local Mondo representative estimated the value of the track at well above the $350,000 asking price,” Nickell wrote in an email to BoiseDev earlier this month.

Nickell did not confirm whether the university is looking for an in-state or out-of-state buyer. As he wrote in an email to BoiseDev on Thursday,“this will be determined over the course of the next four weeks.”

Boise State continues to use the track facilities at Dona Larsen Park in Boise, which opened in 2012. It also uses the Caven-Williams Indoor Practice Facility.

The Save the Jackson Indoor Track Committee

Earlier this year, Dragila helped put together the Save the Jackson Indoor Track Committee. It consists of “all the track coaches we could find and alert here in the community,” as well as others who are concerned about the prospect of losing an opportunity for local track and field competition.

Steve Thomas, administrator for the committee, has had email correspondence with Boise State’s Bob Carney. According to April email messages obtained by BoiseDev, the committee asked to be allowed to inspect the track, and also asked the university to lease the equipment to Dragila’s nonprofit and allow the organization to maintain it.

“As I requested in my prior email, we request from BSU: That the Jackson Track be made available to our designated qualified experts for proper safety inspections and testing to assure its safety and structural integrity,” Thomas wrote on April 28.“Documentation on the history of the handling and storage of the track is also requested. Next, we reiterate our request that the Track be removed from Idaho Surplus Property site; that BSU lease the track to Stacy’s nonprofit for the cost of assuming ongoing costs of maintenance, care, and operation.”

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In the same email message, Thomas included guidelines from Mondotrack on how to care for the equipment, including pictures of proper storage.

He also included photos a committee volunteer took, dating to Feb. 26, showing portions of the university’s track stored outside, uncovered, and piled in a disorderly manner. When the volunteer arrived at the Ford Idaho Center looking for the track, Tim Severa, who is also affiliated with the committee, said staff members directed him outside where he found the equipment.

“As previously noted, we have documented that these Guidelines were not followed this past winter as the steel frames were stored outside in the snow with little or no apparent attention to proper stacking,” Thomas wrote to Carney in April.“It is, thus, critical for BSU to provide documentation of the history of the manner and location of handling and storage of the track to determine whether this past winter’s occurrence is an outlier or symptomatic of a history of mishandling.”

Nickell told BoiseDev he could not speak to how the track has been cared for in the past. He said anyone who wanted to inspect the track would have an opportunity to do so before the sale.

‘Treasureplex’ on hold for now

Initially, as Dragila told KTVB, the committee was prepared to raise the $350,000 to buy the track equipment. She said the committee needs to discuss its next moves, but she has concerns about buying the equipment now, given the condition it is in.

She cited worries about the steel portions of the track and the plywood beneath the track, specifically on lanes one and two. If the track was in a bad enough condition, she said, there could be safety concerns.

“I don’t want to buy something that’s a lemon and then we’re stuck with this,” she said.

Initially, the committee considered buying the track and making it part of what Dragila referred to as the “Treasureplex” – a multi-sports complex to serve the Treasure Valley. While she is still concerned about the lack of such a facility for Treasure Valley youth, she isn’t sure if the Jackson Indoor Track is the correct solution.

“I’ll wait five years and we’ll build something where more kids can participate,” she said.

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story confused Tim Severa and Steve Thomas.

Disclosure: Boise State University is an active BoiseDev advertiser for its cybersecurity program. The school had no role in the selection or production of this story.

Tommy Simmons - Special to BoiseDev
Tommy Simmons is a freelance writer. He formerly covered crime for The Idaho Press in Ada County. He is a Colorado transplant, an award-losing journalist, and a fan of all things heavy metal. Follow him on Twitter

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