Work to repair the track and other functions at the Turks and Caicos Islands National Stadium in Providenciales is now intense.
When NewslineTCI visited the Venetian Road facility, we saw workmen busy laying down new synthetic tracks at sections and other workmen preparing other sections for the new carpet to be laid down.
Already, sports enthusiasts are predicting a fast track, and are anticipating splendid performances from the athletes who will be strutting their stuff there.
Jarrett Forbes, Director for the TCI Sports Commission, told NewslineTCI that work at the facility was much more than laying down the track and rebuilding the border fence.
“We have pretty much installed an irrigation system and we have planted new grass seeds…grass made for performance. We are also resurfacing the track,” Forbes pointed out, adding that the perimeter fencing and the plumbing systems would also get makeovers.
The sports director said that the current work being done marks the second phase of the project.
“Phase 1 was for $500,000 and phase two is $1.5million…so it is $2million in total,” he said.
Forbes said the goal was for the project to be completed by the end of February, but considering the emergence of unforeseen happenings, have given themselves until the end of March.
The National Stadium was constructed in 2007, in time for the Carifta Games, which gave rise to a number of athletes who have gone to win major championship medals, such as Yohan Blake of Jamaica, who later copped Olympic Silver and gold in World Championships.
However, in 2008, Hurricane Ike dealt a huge blow to facility, and it was left in a state of disrepair for a number of years, even while there was a tussle for ownership between government and a local body, which sparked huge demonstrations and vigils at the facility’s site. The issue was later settled and the government now outrightly owns the location.
The Sports Minister told NewslineTCI during last year’s interview that government was seeking also to acquire an eastward adjacent piece of land, to expand the premises.
The track, especially, was at the receiving end of much criticism from a number of individuals, including World Junior Championship gold medalist and Olympian Delano Williams, who once referred to the surface as “concrete”, stating that no athletes should having to compete on such a dilapidated track.
Sometime last year during the National Junior Championships, Hon. Rachel Taylor Told NewslineTCI that government would waste no time allocating funds to repairs.
She told us that funds would come from that year’s budget to tackle phase 1, while additional monies would sufficiently be allocated in the current budget to embark on phase 2.
In the meantime, Forbes said shortly after completion, the stadium would be reopened to the public.