SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The University of Utah is developing plans for an indoor track and field facility in honor of student Lauren McCluskey.
Lauren McCluskey was a track and field student-athlete at the University of Utah who was shot and killed in 2018 by Melvin Shawn Rowland, a man she had a brief relationship with.
Prior to her murder, she repeatedly reached out to the University of Utah Police Department saying Rowland was trying to extort her with photos and making threats.
McCluskey was shot and killed by Rowland on October 22, 2018, in the parking lot of her student dorm on campus.
Soon after killing McCluskey, Salt Lake Police found Rowland, chasing him on foot into Trinity A.M.E. Church on 239 Martin Luther King Blvd. Rowland shot himself inside as the police entered the church.
Since her tragic murder in 2018, foundations have been started, campaigns created, promoting campus safety, and now, the University of Utah says there are plans to develop and building an indoor track and field practice facility in Lauren’s honor.
“We are developing plans for an indoor practice facility, which will include an indoor track in honor of Lauren McCluskey, a Utah track athlete who lost her life in 2018,” says the University of Utah.
The university says with the new track Lauren will “always have a presence on campus.”
The new track will allow track and field athletes to practice, compete, and host indoor competitions year-round.
“We expect this facility to have major performance impacts and recruiting advantages for our teams. We can accelerate our plans with your support,” states the University of Utah.
Jilly McCluskey, mother to Lauren tells ABC4 “during the winter, the team often has to travel from campus to the Olympic oval to practice, which takes about an hour driving time roundtrip.”
McCluskey says she hopes this is a “new positive chapter going forward.” She says the track could also have a “major donor’s” name on the building accompanying Lauren’s.
McCluskey says she is helping with fundraising efforts. “I hope that people who support Utah Athletics will donate. I also hope that people who support the positive changes made in campus safety and do not want Lauren to be forgotten will donate. With this track, Lauren will forever have a presence on campus.”
The school is asking for donations to develop plans and build the facility.
“If the facility cannot be completed, gifts will be directed to scholarships furthering the U’s violence prevention efforts,” according to the donation page.
McClusley says she hopes 100 people will donate to the facility by Lauren’s birthday, February 12.