People in the Antigonish area will soon be scoring touchdowns and running on a new artificial field surface and rubberized track, thanks to a $700,000 investment by the province. The announcement was made today, May 12, by Economic Development Minister Angus MacIsaac, on behalf of Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. The investment will be used to upgrade and revitalize the track and field facilities at St. Francis Xavier University. “St. Francis Xavier University is not just a place of higher learning, it is also an important part of our community for sport and recreation,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “The track and field will be accessible to competitive athletes, seniors, families and young people from across our region and our province.” St. Francis Xavier University will replace its grass field with an artificial turf that has become the surface of choice for sport facilities. The all-weather surface with new field lighting, will increase use to 3,360 hours per year. These extra hours have become necessary to meet the expanding needs of the community. The track will also be upgraded to a high-performance rubberized surface that provides extra protection for the athlete and makes the track more accessible for persons with disabilities. “This is a significant contribution to our athletic facility renewal plans and will help lead to a healthier and more active population on campus and in the Antigonish community,” said Leo MacPherson, St. Francis Xavier University Athletic Director. “It will also be a catalyst in terms of our desire to host provincial, regional and national championships.” The province’s $50-million, 10-year sport and recreation infrastructure investment plan is in addition to the $3 million invested annually in recreation facility development grants.