Lewiston breaks ground on $1.5 million track facility paid for by anonymous donor

LEWISTON, NE — This is the last year Lewiston athletes will need to run on a rock track.

The school district broke ground on a new track complex Monday morning. The facility is being paid for through a $1.5 million anonymous donation.

“It’s a wonderful thing when you have alumni that have a soft spot in their heart for where they grew up and their home district and want to really give back,” Superintendent Rick Kentfield said.

The Nebraska Community Foundation coordinated the donation with the school district. The groups organized community meetings to identify needs. The donor agreed to pay for the track if the school promised to build an ag building.

Jim Gustafson with the Nebraska Community Foundation says it’s fulfilling to see a two-year process come to fruition.

“It just brings so much joy," Gustafson said. "It’s a great occasion, seeing all these kids out here today and all the spirit. We’re looking forward to the future. Dreams are coming true here in Lewiston.”

The facility will feature a post-tensioned track, which is more expensive than asphalt but won’t require nearly as much maintenance. The school will pay for a football field in the middle of the track. It will either move the existing lights, scoreboard and stands or put in new ones.

Superintendent Rick Kentfield says the project helps with the donor’s goal of keeping the school district alive for generations to come.

“Anything like this that we can do to help entice or enhance what we can offer in the form of programming helps us with our student base,” Kentfield said.

Kentfield says 20-25 students participate in track every year, making it one of the school’s most popular sports. Right now, they’re practicing on rock or running the streets. Soon, they hope to be hosting conference and district meets.

“I don’t think that the staff, students and kids realize how cool this is going to be to have something this nice available to them seven days a week," Kentfield said.

The school will play on the existing football field this fall but plan to have the new facility ready for track season next spring.

As for the new ag building, Kentfield says the district put it out for bid last month and the lowest offer came in $600,000 over budget. The district plans to put it out for bid again next year.