(HIGHLAND, Ks.)- In the never-ending arms race of college athletics, it is vital to have the best facilities possible.
And after a million dollar project, Highland Community College will be able to say its back in the fight.
In the never-ending arms race of college athletics, it is vital to have the best facilities possible.
"It's just really exciting to know that we're going to be able to go out and compete for the best kids in the country because now we have the best facilities in the country," Highland head football coach Aaron Arnold said.
"There's always been that buzz that we need to get turf and make some upgrades with our football field, everybody in our conference had already switched over to turf surfaces for their playing fields and we were just kind of behind," Athletic director Tyler Nordman said.
Highland renovated and constructed new practice fields already in this project, but now the football team will have a new state-of-the-art playing turf.
"It's a good indication of how committed our administration is to continuing this program forward and I think when we got here almost 10 years ago now, we weren't competitive in the facilities game and as we finish up this last project here, we're going to be, to me, one of the elite junior colleges in the country in terms of facilities we got," Arnold said.
With the installation of the new turf, it also means the track program will get a new, renovated track, located north of the football stadium.
Recently retired Scotties head track coach Tom Bond said the renovations are a testament to the success of the programs.
"You always want to improve your facilities and the facilities in '95 set the need at the time, but it was a 6-lane track and this one will have 8 lanes," Bond said.
Without the alumni and University support, Scotties athletics officials wouldn't have been able to complete the projects, but now that they're almost complete, the Scotties know they're right back in the competitive race.
"It's always about what can you do to be more competitive than the other guy, what are you going to be able to do to recruit better athletes, what are you going to be able to do to beat someone on a kid," Nordman said.