New state-of-the-art oval has Satellite High on right track

The Satellite High School track has gone from a six-lane asphalt embarrassment to eight lanes of a state-of-the-art rubberized surface as the result of a hurried but successful fundraising effort by coach Doug Butler to get the work done by the start of track season.

Led by a hefty $250,000 contribution from the Brevard County School District, the $400,000 project now sets Satellite apart as the premier track facility of all public high schools in Brevard County. The new track to open Feb. 4 will no doubt help Satellite High recruit some of the top runners in the area, as well as a variety of regional track meets including the upcoming Cape Coast Conference Championship March 28. Seven total meets are to be held there during the month of March.

“It’s like night and day. We had six lanes of torn-up asphalt and nobody runs on asphalt anymore. You can’t run in spikes on asphalt,’’ he said.

Butler, who joined Satellite High as track and cross country coach in 2014, coached 20 teams to state championships during his 15 years at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, where he was part of a similar track refurbishment project.

“It took longer than what I was hoping, but to raise $165,000 in 13 months as we did was pretty good. They didn’t think we would have it done by this track season, but I had seniors that I wanted it to be done for before they graduate,” he said.

Butler credits parents and the community at large for donating generously, and said he hopes the track pays dividends back to the local economy.

“It’s just a win-win for the people and businesses in the community. It’s not like a two-hour football game. These larger track meets can take eight hours and during that time people are going to get hungry and go to local restaurants and businesses,’’ Butler said.

A key to raising the money was allowing access to the public through a special turnstile gate, where runners can get in to train. For the public, the track will be open two nights a week from 4 p.m. to sunset. On weekends the public will have access from sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Sunday, except when there is a conflict with a school event.

The resulting donations included $5,000 from the City of Indian Harbour Beach, $30,000 from the City of Satellite Beach, plus 30 percent of track maintenance. From the running community came support in the form of $10,000 from Running Zone and $5,000 from Space Coast Runners.

“We were happy to do it and are very supportive in causes that can benefit the community from a running and health perspective. From a personal level, as well as being Space Coast Runner (SCR) officer, I am excited to see the Satellite High track get a facelift and major upgrade,” said Space Coast Runners President Lisa Hamelin.

Space Coast Runners will be partnering with Butler for a new training program one night a week starting in March open to all active SCR members.

Young and old bodies alike could experience greater endurance and fewer mishaps due to the track’s design. “When you rubberize a track, injuries are dropped to just about nil. You can run hard on rubber and not take the pounding that you would on asphalt,’’ Butler said.

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