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Springfield Students Step Up to Build Gate to Tokyo

Scott Touchette

A woodworking class at Springfield High School stepped up to build a Japanese arch for the race walk at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.

Trials organizers contacted CTE teacher Scott Touchette with a question: Can you and your class create a torii using wood from Hayward’s old East Grandstand?

“I just kind of looked at pictures and tried to do my best to be as traditional as I could," said Touchette, "but also be realistic with: We have a very short timeline, this is the material we’ve gotten, this is really old Hayward Field lumber. Nothing’s true, nothing’s straight and square.”


A torii marks the entrance to a sacred space, and this one’s nine feet wide and nearly 10 feet tall. Touchette’s class sanded, made joints and pieced it together.

Credit Scott Touchette
Two students sand the Hayward Field lumber while another works in the background.

“The students loved to do it," he told KLCC. "It’s big, it’s different, and they don’t get to do this kind of stuff very often. And they really enjoyed the fact that ‘Wow this is going to be for the Olympic Trials?’”


The gate will be unveiled at the start / finish of the 20K race walk, in front of Springfield City Hall, on June 26th. 


Jeannine Erving from TrackTown USA said pre-pandemic, the plan was to build a Japanese garden in the fan festival area of the Trials. While the gathering space behind Hayward won’t happen, organizers wanted to move forward with the torii feature.


Erving said TrackTown USA wanted the Japanese gate to be built in Springfield by local students, because the city was awarded the racewalk event. She said there’s yet another Olympic connection: Lance Deal, a Silver medalist hammer thrower, will build the structure’s metal base. 


After the trials, Erving said the gate will be gifted back to Springfield, where it will be displayed with a plaque naming the students who helped build it. 


Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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