Over the last couple of springs, Bangor’s Cameron Stadium has been the most-used track and field facility in eastern Maine, with four teams — Bangor, Brewer, John Bapst of Bangor and Hampden Academy — training at the Garland Street oval.
That will continue for one more spring, as Brewer’s new eight-lane track facility on Pendleton Street won’t host any high school meets or practices until next spring.
While Brewer athletic administrator Dennis Kiah did acknowledge that the facility’s discus area still needs some work, the construction company working on the site that also includes the city’s new K-8 elementary school isn’t ready to turn the site over to the Brewer School Department.
“The track still belongs to the general contractor,” Kiah said. “We’re not allowed to go on until they relinquish the school and the whole facility over. That’s why we can’t practice on it.”
When that became clear, Kiah’s colleague across the river, Steve Vanidestine, was more than accommodating.
“Bangor and Brewer have got a great relationship, Dennis and I get along very well,” Vanidestine said. “We were able to have (Brewer) come up along with Hampden. We’re trying to be a good neighbor. We’re more than happy to help them out.”
Generally, Bangor’s track teams practice early in the afternoon while Brewer, John Bapst and Hampden train once the Rams are finished.
“In any case, the relationship has been really positive between the coaches and the kids,” Vanidestine said. “We do it without any costs really. We haven’t had to turn on the lights.”
Kiah has certainly been appreciative of Bangor’s generosity and would be willing to return the favor.
“If they get to the point where they’re going to put in a new stadium, they’ll certainly be welcome to come over to our place,” he said.
While it may be frustrating to some degree that Brewer doesn’t have its own facility ready quite yet, safety is also an issue.
“If we did go over, there wouldn’t be any place to park,” Kiah said. “We have to be patient with it, we have to do what’s going to be safe. We thought we were going to be able to, but things slowed down and they just aren’t going to relinquish it to us, and rightfully so.”
Kiah did add that crews are still putting the finishing touches on the interior of the school building, which is set to open for the 2011-12 school year.
He is hopeful that Brewer’s youth track program, run through the city’s recreation department, will be able to use the track this summer while the Witches’ soccer teams will play home games at the facility next fall.
Glendon Rand, who has been a running coach at Brewer for more than a decade, is coaching the Witches’ outdoor teams this spring. More than 90 athletes are participating.
Brewer’s first meet of the year is Friday at Bangor.