Todd Ford says it was an honor to design the track and field complex for Hillsboro High School that recently earned the school district an American Sports Builders Association Distinguished Outdoor Track Facility Award.
The Hillsboro project, which also incorporates a soccer field, was completed in March of 2015. Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc., the Milford engineering firm Ford works for, sent Ford to Florida to accept the award earlier this month.
“I thought it was very appropriate. It was probably one of my favorite projects I’ve worked on because it was a very top-notch, first class facility,” Ford, a 2002 Hillsboro High School graduate, said Monday. “From the beginning, trying to get the exact track to fit the site, and meet the requirements for as wide as a soccer field as they wanted, and keeping enough open space, was a challenge.”
Speaking of designing an athletic facility for his alma mater, Ford said, “I would say it was a complete honor. I think I took it a lot more personally. I’ve worked on several other athletic complex projects, but this was by far one of my favorites – making it a top-notch facility and knowing that in the long run this is a design that’s going to last a little longer than some other facilities.”
Prior to the project’s completion, Hillsboro middle school and high school track athletes had to be transported or drive themselves to the former school site off West Main Street to practice on an old cinder track that was not regulation size. The school also had not hosted a home track and field meet for more than 30 years.
“To make the project possible for the district where it had not been possible before, the project was developed with a multiphased plan that would allow funding to be spread out over time,” Civil & Environmental Consultants said in the award application. “The initial phase of the project included gravel bases for the track, future bleacher pads, and the high jump area; a natural turf soccer field; long jump pit and runway; pole vault pad and runway; and shot put and discus pads and landing areas. The second phase included a perimeter fence surrounding the track, asphalt pavement for the track, and synthetic surface for track and field events. The third phase included paving the track and constructing the area for the 90 additional parking spaces.
“Hillsboro City Schools completed the project and hosted its first at home meet utilizing the new athletic complex in 2015. The result did more than create an opportunity for at home meets, it also created savings for the district by eliminating unnecessary travel costs for practices held at neighboring schools and facilities. In addition, the track configuration allowed for an optimum size soccer field, and the incorporation of track specific lighting allowed the district to hold various community events at the facility, an added benefit for taxpayers whose funds contributed to the project. By developing a smaller scope for each of the phases, it created project savings when compared to a larger, single phase construction project, and enabled more local contractor involvement, another plus for the community.”
The general contractor for the project was the Ford Excavation Company in Hillsboro that Todd’s father and uncle, Mick and Mark Ford, respectively, operate. Todd’s mother, Sandy Ford, is a secretary at Hillsboro Elementary.
The American Sports Builders Association presents annual awards to facilities built by ASBA members that best exemplify construction excellence. Awards are presented in various categories: tennis courts, running tracks, sports fields, indoor facilities and track and field facilities. Projects are scored individually based on considerations such as layout and design, site work, drainage, base construction, surface, amenities, innovation and overall impression. Winning entries are those whose cumulative scores meet or exceed the standard.
The Outstanding Outdoor Track Facility of the Year Award went to the Gerald Filion Secondary School in Longueiul, Quebec, Canada. The Silver Award went to New Lansing High School in Lansing, Kan.; and the Bronze Award went to Tropical Memorial Park in Miami, Fla. Distinguished Outdoor Track Facility awards went to Hillsboro High School; Christoval ISD Stadium in Christoval, Texas; Killdeer Cowboy Sports Complex in Killdeer, N.D.; North Callaway Track in Kingdom City, Mo.; Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Riverbank High School in Riverbank, Calif.; Wall High School Athletic Facility in Walls, S.D.; and York Lion’s Stadium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“It was a big honor – it was kind of nice,” Ford said. “You look out there and you’re with these guys from facilities in California, Canada and New Mexico, and here’s one from Hillsboro, Ohio.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.