When people first use Central Oregon Community College’s newly-renovated, bright-blue track when it opens to the public Monday, they might think they wandered onto Boise State University’s famously blue football field. COCC’s revamped track has been repainted a bright electric blue color that will likely stop passers-­by in their tracks.

The track’s bold new color wasn’t the school’s original intention, according to Matt Greenleaf, the facilitator for COCC’s Intramural/Club Sports division. COCC’s official shade of blue is the lighter “Columbia blue,” named after the Ivy League college, but that wasn’t an option.

“It’s a little darker than what we thought it would be … but I guess that was as close as we could get,” said Greenleaf, who helped choose the color.

Joe Viola, COCC’s director of campus services, said he loves the track’s eye-catching new look, which is a drastic change from its previous black color.

“We could’ve gone with the black or some other colors, and they chose this,” he said. “It’s a fresh, fun look.”

A paint job isn’t the only upgrade for COCC’s track. Viola said the track hadn’t been resurfaced in about a decade, and tree roots and constant cycles of freezing and thawing resulted in cracks and an uneven surface.

Starting in September 2018, with most work taking place this summer, Texas-based Dynamic Sports Construction patched and sealed cracks, cut roots, patched the underlying asphalt and installed a new top layer.

The track renovation cost COCC slightly less than $200,000, according to Viola.

Although COCC has no official sports teams, Viola said the college’s track is still well-used, with club sports and intramural teams using it for workouts. COCC staff and students also frequently use the track, along with the surrounding community, as it is open to the public.

“With 300 students living in the residence hall … there’s all of a sudden a lot more students who want a place to exercise,” said COCC spokesman Ron Paradis. “Obviously, the track is important for that.”

The blue color also gives the track a jolt of school spirit, Viola said, which will look sharp when the college holds its commencement ceremony on the track’s interior field.

COCC isn’t the only school to use the track. Last fall, the 6A Mountain Valley Conference — consisting of three Bend high schools and five Salem-Keizer high schools — held its league cross-country meet on COCC’s campus, and the race started and ended on the track. The meet could be held at the college again in the future, said Sal Cassaro, Bend-La Pine Schools’ athletic director.

Greenleaf said he was excited for the community to try out COCC’s new track.

“I’m super happy with it,” he said. “It’ll be a great place for everybody to get their workouts in.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

23790636