School counting on community to raise money for new track

Vice principal Todd Symes at the site of the new track
Vice principal Todd Symes at the site of the new track. Photo Ed Halverson
Ed Halverson - QCCR - LiverpoolNS | 16-03-2021

Volunteers at Liverpool Regional High School are working to build a track worthy of an Olympian.

Plans are in place to replace the schools’ existing soccer field and surround it with an eight-lane 400 metre long track.

Vice Principal Todd Symes identified the need for better training facilities when he arrived at LRHS six years ago.

“Believe it or not, we use our bus loop as a surrogate training ground which is not even safe or something I’d like to admit on radio but something we have to do out of necessity.”

The track team is one of the most popular events in the school and regularly sees 75-100 students participating each year.

Plans for the new track also include rebuilding the soccer pitch to ensure a more level surface and improve water drainage off the field. The soccer nets will be moveable to allow for throwing events and training to take place.

Proposed track plan

Proposed track plan. Submitted by Liverpool Regional High School

Symes says that’s key to providing a training ground form one of Queens County’s most famous athletes Olympic thrower, Sarah Mitton.

“Even really early on when the students here and the committee were looking at designing the facility, we said regardless of what happens, we want to make sure that Sarah has a place to come home to,” said Symes. “I know she currently comes home and has to drive to Halifax to train because even Park View is not equipped to handle her athletic and her Olympic caliber.”

Mitton has been doing her part in return trying to raise awareness of the group’s efforts to raise the $331,000 necessary to realize their vision.

The organization is making a dent in their fundraising. They already received a $50,000 grant and the student body, SAC and Regional Centre have contributed another $15,000.

Symes is pleased people are getting behind the idea but thinks they could be further along were it not for the events of the last year.

“I keep hating to use COVID as an excuse for everything but it’s kind of put a damper on our community involvement. We can’t have any large-scale group meetings and we can’t do any large-scale fundraising. So we’re just relying on word-of-mouth and community members who have contacted us; numerous community members and businesses that want to be part of this project,” said Symes.

The group is not idly waiting for the money to roll in. They’ve launched a fundraising page and a GoFundMe campaign to reach their goal.

Symes says the project is ready to go, they’re just waiting on the money.

“To be honest, we’ve put a lot of work in the last four or five years in the back end to make sure that this is a pretty smooth transition,” said Symes. “We have everything laid out and if we were to break ground today, we’re pretty confident we could have it completed by September.”

Reported by Ed Halverson 
Twitter: @edwardhalverson

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