The Rhonda & Frosty Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium, named after Rhonda and Frosty Gilliam, class of 1980, opened for the first time in December of 2008. It features a number of technological advancements that are relatively new to the collegiate athletic scene.
Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium features a pre-engineered bleacher system with press boxes and portable grandstands to seat over 4,100 and is furnished with two press boxes, fully operating concessions, and restroom facilities for meets and other events. Partnered with the neighboring practice football facility and Bright Football Complex, Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium serves as an exceptional venue for collegiate athletic competition as well as a wide variety of non-collegiate sports, community, and national events.
Like the neighboring indoor football practice facility, Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium is constructed with Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) fabric, tensioned over a 104’ 2 7/8” steel frame. It is fully insulated with thick R-30 insulation for the severe Texas heat and cold winters, and lined with a similar PVC fabric. Together, the indoor football practice facility, and Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium are known as McFerrin Athletic Center, named for Arthur “Artie” McFerrin, class of 1965.
The top-of-the-line facility is fully air-conditioned and equipped with high quality climate control systems. Air is distributed via a collapsible fabric duct sock that expands when in use.
The track in the new indoor facility is created with the same surfacing that was used for the track & field events at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The surface is constructed with Mondo Super X Performance Material, a synthetic rubber that provides high-quality shock absorption, skid resistance, force reduction, and overall comfort for the athletes as they practice and compete. The six-lane, 200-meter competition track installed in the facility also has the capability to be hydraulically banked at its two bends for high speed running events. This technology has the potential to make Texas A&M the fastest indoor track in North America. The hydraulic track can be adjusted to any interval, perfect for a variety of training purposes and levels of competition.
In the competitive world of track & field, the training requirements are far exceeded by Coach Pat Henry’s standards. Aside from the six-lane, 200-meter hydraulically banked competition track, the facility features eight independent sprint lanes, two long and triple jump sand pits, four pole vault runways, and two throwing rings.
In the future, the track & field facility will also feature a state-of-the-art synthetic turf conversion system, known as a Magic Carpet System. The most recent installment of this fairly new architecture is at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. In two hours, the facility can be converted from the Mondo surface to a one-hundred-yard synthetic turf field by way of a series of air jets. Run by a minimum of three people, eighteen air jets assist the turf across the entire floor in 30 minutes. When not in use, the turf is stored in neat folds in a covered pit blended with the surface.
For the first time since 2004 an Aggie team will compete on a home venue, and it will be in the first-ever indoor facility on the Texas A&M campus. The indoor season will have the Aggies hosting five meets, which includes two postseason championships.
The recently completed Gilliam Indoor Track and Field Stadium features a six lane 200-meter, hydraulic-banked track as well as an eight lane straightaway that resides in the McFerrin Athletic Center.
“I think we have the finest facility in this country,” Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry said. “Of course, I’m going to be a little biased.
“Besides it being a banked, hydraulic Mondo facility, which we know is a tremendous track, it goes to the same degree of angle that the Arkansas track does. The Arkansas track is very fast and this is a copy of that track.”
The Gilliam Indoor Track and Field Stadium is located at the southwest corner of Kyle Field and the structure covers 120,000 square foot. Plus adjacent to the facility is a 75,000 square foot indoor football practice field which will serve as the warm-up area during home meets.
“The most important thing, particularly for championship meets, is having an indoor warm-up facility adjacent to the track building,” Henry noted. “When most facilities are built they forget that the athletes need to warm up. When you host a track meet you can’t warm up on the same track you’re having the meet on.
“The other half of the McFerrin Athletic Center, which houses an indoor football field, just makes our warm-up area outstanding. That’s what separates our facility from any others.”
The Texas A&M track and field staff and program offer a hearty thank you to the two families largely responsible for the construction of the first indoor track and field facility to grace the campus.
Dorothy and Artie McFerrin along with Rhonda and Frosty Gilliam were instrumental in the plans for such a facility coming to fruition.
“A couple of families gave an awful lot to this project, plus there were also a lot of other people who contributed to the facility,” Henry said. “This is a happy time for us right now and we hope our team will respond.”
The Mondotrack FTX surface, which covers the entire competition floor, is the same material utilized during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
It offers a greater contact area, better lateral support of the foot and a high energy return. The surface is athlete oriented because it supports the rolling of the foot, returning elastic power and enhancing performance while preventing injury.
By having a sprint runway outside of the oval, more room is dedicated to field events inside the oval. The Gilliam Indoor facility can accommodate two runways for the long jump or triple jump, two vault runways and pits as well as two high jump pits.
Outside of the oval the facility also includes a throwing area that can accommodate two shot put rings, or a shot put and weight throw area concurrently.
“We can also throw both the shot put and the weight throw in the same facility and at the same time while being visible from the stands,” Henry explained.
“For field events we can do two events at the same time in the long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault. Something like that can’t be done anywhere else in the country.”