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Medford middle schools to get tracks

North face lift also set with donations

It started as the senior project of Tyler Hoffbuhr, a 1998 graduate of South Medford High.

One year later, Hoffbuhr's vision of new all-weather tracks for Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools and a refurbished track for North Medford High has become a reality.

Steven Wisely, superintendent of Medford Schools, announced Friday the completion of a fund-raising project to construct all-weather tracks at the middle schools and to refurbish the existing track at North Medford.

Estimated costs to complete the three tracks _ which will be open to community runners during non-school hours _ is $208,000, according to Wisely.

All money comes from private sources, and fund-raising was spurred by Medford Linebackers President Bob Reed and Vice President Dick Entinger, said Wisely.

It shows the quality of life we have here in Medford that people can come up with this amount of money for three school tracks to be used for community runners to promote health and fitness, says Entinger.

Asante Health Systems donated $75,000 for the Hedrick Middle School track in conjunction with its business and health partnership with the school. Bear Creek Corporation donated $75,000 for the McLoughlin track.

Also donating to the construction of the three tracks were the Bowerman Corp. ($10,000), Jeld-Wen Corp. ($25,000) and an anonymous donor who gave $23,000.

Hoffbuhr, an all-state soccer player for South Medford High's 1997 Class 4A state championship team, is completing his freshman year at Oregon State University. He attended Friday's press conference to talk about his idea for his 1998 senior project on the need for school and community tracks to promote fitness and wellness.

I didn't know if it would go this far, says Hoffbuhr. It was an idea I had that I thought was a good one. It will benefit a lot of middle school kids who were used to running track in the mud at Hedrick and McLoughlin.

Wisely said the school district and Medford Linebackers had discussed new tracks for the middle schools and a new surface for the North Medford track in the past.

When Tyler (Hoffbuhr) came to me and told me he was doing his senior project on this, I was excited, says Wisely. I called over to South Medford to find out when his presentation was so I could be there.

He delivered the presentation like a champ, and I told him later his dream was going to come true. We would be able to get these tracks built.

The new track at McLoughlin will be a tremendous boost for our track program and for our students in their physical fitness workouts, says Doug McKenzie, McLoughlin principal and former track coach at South Medford High. The kids are going from a substandard surface to run on to the best.

I think you are going to see our middle school and high school track programs take off as a result of this.