Mayor Gayle Brill-Mittler, Superintendent Dr. Kristina Nicosia and NJ assemblyman Sterley Stanley cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Highland Park High School track on Thursday, September 29th. This marks a step forward for borough recreation as the track is officially complete in its restoration and open to the public.
New additions include dimmable stadium lights and water-absorbing turf. The design allows student-athletes to run faster and perform their very best. In the future, track events will likely be held at Highland Park.
The total cost of the track was $2 million, financed through the NJ State FY 2022 budget and matched by funding from the Municipal Borough and Board of Education. Hellas Construction Company began work on May 23, 2022, and finished this September after painting racing stripes. Local representatives have committed to ensuring that the track will pass inspection and continue to be used for high school sports games.
The track, named Jay H. Dakelman Field, honors the life of a former coach and athletic director at Highland Park High School. Dakelman coached football, basketball, and track for over 40 years. His influence in advancing Highland Park High School athletics has led to the presentation of Greater Middlesex Scholar County awards in his namesake.
“Give a hoot and don’t pollute!”
The message administrators want the Highland Park Owls to remember is that the track is for everyone and should be treated like home. Highland Park High School principal Mr. Lassiter told the student body, “Give a hoot and don’t pollute!” The goal is to preserve the track so it can be used for generations to come.