Old Watauga High School property will be home to track and field, softball, tennis

Gianna Holiday, Reporter

Plans are in motion to scrap Ike Belk Track in Kidd Brewer Stadium in lieu of App State’s purchase of the old Watauga High School lot. 

App State acquired the 74-acre property on the site of the former WHS, located at 400 High School Drive, off of N.C. Highway 105. 

The $15.5 million purchase, whose facilities were approved by the UNC board of governors in March, makes room for further construction off campus.

 The university track, softball and competition tennis facilities will relocate to the newly-purchased lot from the football stadium and other sports complexes.

“In the short term, the removal of part of the track and the full removal has meant the coaches and athletes have had to make adjustments in training plans,” said Michael Curcio, cross country head coach and track and field associate head coach. “We’ve had to become more creative. It’s challenging, but those challenges have forced the athletes and coaches to be very intentional in our planning.”

The former high school’s track, softball and outdoor tennis courts were divided to focus on redesigning the area to university-level, competition-grade venues for the App State track, softball and tennis teams.

Courtesy of App State Athletics
Ike Belk Track is being scrapped from Kidd Brewer Stadium, with a new athletic complex to be built on the former property of Watauga High School. This graphic rendering shows the university’s plans for the new developments at the property off of N.C. Highway 105.

The university requested Boone Town Council and the Boone Planning Commission to rezone another part of the property for educational without residential purposes, meaning dorms cannot be built on the space. 

The project is in the design phase with CHA Consulting Inc. of Raleigh. It will be completed in phases, with the track taking priority. 

In addition to the track, tennis facilities will include six indoor and six outdoor courts, and softball will include seating for 100 to 150 spectators.  

“The new track facility will give the team a track that is designed specifically for the sport. We won’t have to make as many adjustments,” Curcio said. “Athletes and coaches can set up practice times that can fit every event, group and individual. Coaches might be busy, but the athletes will have more flexibility in setting their class schedules.” 

Until new tennis courts are complete, App State’s varsity tennis teams will continue to use the Rivers Street courts. The courts were resurfaced this fall and continue to serve their purpose for physical education classes in addition to University Recreation.

The App State track team will not host any meets in 2019 because of the removal of the Kidd Brewer track before the new track is complete.

“There are a lot of options for the use of the App (State) 105 property,” Curcio said. “I’m sure the administration will find some complementary and shared uses for the whole property. We know we will have a dedicated track and field facility in the near future.”

Other developments have included student residence halls, a day care facility or student recreation fields.

Currently, the goal is for completion of the new track by spring 2021.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the track should be completed by spring 2020. It has been corrected to state it should be completed by spring 2021.