Larson Track & Field Complex
Indoor and outdoor track and field competitions will be back on Augustana’s campus for the first time since the 1970s thanks to a generous lead gift from the Larson family of Sioux Falls.
A component from the University’s Horizons 2019 Strategic Plan to enhance the campus, the Complex is named for the Larson family, thanks to a lead gift from Linda Larson ’87, who is honoring her late father, Billy, and sister, Kathie ’78. The Larson Track & Field Complex is more than just a track, however — this new facility is a “game-changer.”
“The combination of an outdoor/indoor track facility will be a game-changer for our program. There hasn’t been this type of facility built before, and I truly believe it will change our program to help us reach even higher levels,” said Tracy Hellman, head coach of Augustana’s men’s and women’s track and field and cross country programs.
“We’ve had some great gifts and some great visions and for us to have a place to call home is the biggest component. If you look at a college campus, most have a track. It’s a fitness component, a health component to have a place to work out. This will tie everything together, a perfect fit for the campus. This Complex is something that all campuses should have and we don’t.”
— Tracy Hellman, track and field head coach
Located north of Morstad Field, the University’s soccer facility, the Larson Track & Field Complex will add to Augustana’s already impressive outdoor campus athletic facilities. The Complex is unique in that it combines an outdoor and indoor track on the same footprint — the only one of its kind in the country. The goal for Phase 1 is fall 2018; Phase 2 will include a seasonal dome that will cover the 300-meter track, making it a seasonal indoor facility. Because weather in the Upper Midwest is often a challenge for outdoor sports, the footprint of the dome — 100,000 square feet — will be widely utilized throughout the colder months by the track and field program, other sports as well as the campus community.
More than the impact this new facility will have on the campus is the benefit to the greater community, Hellman said.
“This is going to be huge for our school, our program, for the city, state, region — there’s nothing like it. The indoor/outdoor combination — there is nothing out there that has components of both wrapped into one, which is what separates us,” Hellman said. “We can become the mecca of track and field in Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas. I envision us hosting track meets, camps, clinics, and numerous other events that can support the track and field program at Augustana University.”
Other AU athletic programs will benefit from the Larson Complex, too. Augustana will now be able to train at a different level and recruit a higher-level student athlete. The general student population will also be able to utilize the Larson Track & Field Complex, said Mark Hecht, director of recreational services.
“This multi-activity facility with an all-weather surface will fit a campus recreation void that has existed for over a decade. It will provide countless opportunities for students to enjoy quality opportunities for intramural flag football, soccer, rugby and various other club sports. Its impact on campus recreation and on student life in general will be significant,” Hecht said.