For the rest of spring and into summer, the field will be closed for renovation purposes. The biggest change once the field reopens in the fall? A brand-new track for runners, joggers, and walkers alike.
“It will appear very similar to the current track in terms of color,” says Mike Mahoney, director of athletic communications at Penn. “But it will be a much better surface than the current track, which is pretty worn down.”
Mahoney says the existing track and all the layers below it, including the concrete, will be taken out and replaced.
“We will then reset the new concrete and build the new track,” he says.
Franklin Field is Penn’s home for the track programs as well as football and lacrosse, in addition to numerous intramural sports, and is the site of the University-wide Commencement. In addition, it has been home to the historic Penn Relays for 120 years. Although the track was fixed up about 12 years ago, Mahoney says, a renovation of this scope hasn’t happened since the late 1980s.
The conversation for the track renovation at Franklin Field isn’t new. It has been talked about “since I got here 10 years ago,” Mahoney says. “But it started in earnest a few years ago.”
Other renovations at the field include a revamping of the plaza area at the west end, next to Weightman Hall. Also, Mahoney says, the steeplechase water pit is being moved from the northeast corner, outside the track, to the northwest corner, inside the track.
Mahoney says the field’s renovations will likely continue through mid-September. It is expected to be finished “well ahead” of the first home football game of the year, which is Oct. 3.
Along with Penn Athletics, Mahoney recognizes that faculty and staff from the University enjoy using the track for exercise during open hours.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this summer,” he says, “but we know in the long term everyone will be pleased with the new track once it has been put in place.”