John Brown University and the Siloam Springs School District (SSSD) announced a partnership today that provides for the renovation and shared use of the track and field facilities at Siloam Springs Middle School located a half mile from the University.
Under the memorandum of understanding, JBU will cover 50 percent of the cost of the track renovation up to $400,000. The first priority will be to rebuild the track sub-surface and install a higher quality running surface. The interior ends of the track will be made more functional for field events, and a steeple chase pit area will be added.
“We are excited to partner with John Brown University to rebuild our track into a modern and safe facility, an endeavor that neither of us could undertake without this partnership,” Siloam Springs School District Superintendent Ken Ramey said. “In the future, with our excellent coaches and student athletes, we can host 5A Conference, State and Meet of Champions events. Last year, we had 152 total students participating in track grades 7-12. We sincerely appreciate the relationship and partnerships we have with John Brown University. The shared use of the track and field facilities will certainly benefit students from 7th grade through their college years.”
The school district will complete additional work to upgrade the facilities including removing the west stands and renovating the public restrooms in the east stands. Most of the work will be done by district facilities staff.
The memorandum enables JBU to use the track for 12 years or until the track needs resurfacing, whichever is longer. At that time the partnership can be renewed for an additional 12 years with each school covering half the cost of the track resurfacing.
“We are deeply grateful to the Siloam Springs School District for allowing us to enter into this partnership with them,” JBU President Chip Pollard said. “This new track will be a great asset to SSSD, JBU and the community of Siloam Springs, and it is another example of how public and private institutions can work together for the common good. It is a part of JBU’s mission to be a good neighbor, and we see this partnership to renovate the track as another example of our commitment and our gratitude for being a part of Siloam Springs.”
JBU will launch an NAIA Intercollegiate men’s and women’s Track & Field program beginning in fall 2019. During its nearly 100-year history, JBU had a intercollegiate Track and Field team from 1960s to 1980s. The new program will be under the direction of Coach Scott Schochler who has led JBU’s Cross Country team since 2013. Schochler coached Annie Brown ’17 to a spot in the 2015 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships marathon, and helped senior Josh Uzelac make appearances in three consecutive NAIA National Championships.
“I am extremely excited and grateful to have the opportunity to bring Track and Field back to JBU and contribute to its legacy,” Schochler said. “I expect to be competitive from the start because of the ability JBU gives us to draw high-quality student athletes, and thanks to the foundation and culture that has been built by our cross country family of athletes. It is a great time to be a JBU Golden Eagle.”
JBU will begin recruiting immediately and hopes to recruit 15 new students for fall 2019. The 28 members of the men’s and women’s cross country team will be able to compete in both sports. Robyn Daugherty, JBU athletics director, said JBU hopes to have 60 students combined in the two programs by fall 2021.
John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2019), JBU enrolls more than 2,100 students from 38 states and 53 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including engineering, nursing, family and human services, biology, graphic design and construction management.
Siloam Springs School District is a diverse public school district serving 4,300 students on seven campuses. With tremendous support from the community, the Siloam Springs School District has made its mission “Changing lives through educational excellence.” Siloam Springs School District’s Vision is: “To ensure student success, the Siloam Springs School District utilizes innovative approaches, partnerships, and resources to meet the individual needs of every student.”