Grange says 'Stadium' redevelopment project should be off and running in 2021

Grange says 'Stadium' redevelopment project should be off and running in 2021

Friday, January 24, 2020

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After previously announcing plans for the redevelopment of the National Stadium, Minister of Sport Olivia Grange says redevelopment word on the almost 58-year-old facility is drawing even closer.

Grange revealed that the Public Investment Management Secretariat (PIMSEC), an arm in the Ministry of Finance, has been in receipt of the various recommendations from consultants, who were contracted by the government to research the stadium's redevelopment.

In fact, Grange, while expressing delight at the latest progress, is optimistic that the project, which has been in the pipeline for a number of years, will eventually commence early next year.

The National Stadium redevelopment plans include the removal of the velodrome to install an additional 10,000 seats, state-of-the-art anti-doping facilities, covering for most of the facility, updated Royal Box and upgraded media facilities.

“This is a major achievement because normally these things take a long time. Although it does appear to take a long time since we announced the redevelopment of the Stadium complex, this is record time.

“And so I'm looking forward to that and I want you all to look forward because, we're going to really have to work as a team to sustain it, to do events, and to ensure that we can market Jamaica to the world,” Grange said during the Racers Grand Prix media launch at Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.

Grange pointed out that detailed plans on how the government intends to go about refurbishing the complex, which was constructed in 1962 to host the Central American and Caribbean Games, will be revealed at a later date.

“It will take us another year to fine-tune, so hopefully by next year we will be in a position to start construction and construction will be in phases.

“We're going to have to do some work at Stadium East in order to take some of the events that would normally be held in the [National Stadium]. And we will also have to figure out how to treat an event like Champs and the Grand Gala. These are decisions that we're going to have to carefully make,” Grange noted.

She also shared that similar plans are in place for the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, where a baseball diamond will be put in place to add more value to the complex which is currently focused largely on cricket.

According to Grange, similar work is also in the pipeline for St Thomas where lands have already been identified for the construction of a multi-purpose complex.

“I've been having meetings with the Factories Corporation, the head of the St Thomas cricket organisation, that's Dennis Gordon, and other stakeholders, because we want to move on that quickly.

“So there are a number of other things that we're discussing and I can say the future is great. It's awesome, I mean, the possibilities are unbelievable, and I'm excited about what the future holds,” said Grange.

Meanwhile, Racers Grand Prix Chairman Glenn Mills welcomed the latest developments, as a redeveloped stadium would add more status to their fast growing meet.

“The 10 years we get as a part of the Continental Tour Gold Series is not cast in stone, because if we don't do well, they will take it away from us. That's the contract, but they (World Athletics) are willing to work with us and if we can present them with facilities that are Diamond League level and discuss with them to move the meet, I guess they will give it to us.

“If that (Stadium redevelopment) comes in, we are good to go and we can also host the World Championships because they are going to increase the capacity of the stadium to about 30,000 and that's a good size for a World Championships,” Mills noted.

– Sherdon Cowan

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