By Ilvea Lezama
Decades after the old track and field on Liberty Avenue was padlocked because shoddy construction led to massive sinkholes, York College finally broke ground on a new $7.8 million 400-meter running track facility in late June on what will be the first-ever National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level track and field in Southeast, Queens.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said the facility is an investment in York College’s students. It will help its athletes better prepare for competitions and its students to take part in exercise.
“It is also an investment in the residents of Southeast Queens, who will be able to use this facility for their own recreational and sports activities,” said Richards. “It’s about time that our schools and our residents had the same kind of amenities that any other community has. The construction of this state-of-the-art track and field facility will help ensure just that.” The project will also feature a soccer field in its center and long jump runway strips and a pole-vaulting runway. This project will also allow York College to host NCAA-level events.
Brahim Chhab, head coach of the Men’s Soccer team said that having a state-of-the-art soccer field and track & field will be a turning point for the student-athletes and the community moving forward. “York College is making the community a better place; we are very excited about this magnificent sports facility that we will call home with a lot of pride.”
Pandora’s Box reported back in December 2022, about an anticipated 7,500-seat stadium deal between CUNY, York officials and Queensborough Football Club (QBFC) that until this day there has been no further mention of.
Executive Director of Facilities & Planning Building and Grounds Operations, Onyekachi “Kachi” Akoma said, “Substantial completion of track and field construction will happen in December of 2023. At this time planned major work to occur after December 2023 at Track and Field includes installation of the scoreboard and guard booth. The entirety of the project will be at the beneficial use phase after final installations are made.” With the first of its caliber in the area Akoma said, that there is an expectation that having an NCAA track and field will attract talent wishing to perform at this level who will benefit from the availability of the NCAA track and field at CUNY York College.