Kingston, Jamaica ( McKoy’s News) – National Stadium Refurbishing Plans: The calls have been long and many for the refurbishing of the National Stadium in Kingston, and a major upgrade of the almost 55-year-old facility now seems set to finally come to pass.
However, despite the advancement of the planning phase, a US$45.04-million budget now stands in the way of what is expected to be a minimum five-year project – once all the funds have been acquired.
This aspect is likely to be covered by the Government in partnership with the private sector, as was explained by Major Desmond Brown, general manager of Independence Park, the operators of the National Stadium.
“We have a meeting set up with Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and then the Government will decide how they are going to fund it. I expect the meeting will go well because the interactions we have had with the Ministry of Finance seems to suggest that they will consider it favourably.
Once the funds are in place, Brown pointed out that the project will be executed over four phases, to continue the accommodation of various events to be staged inside the popular venue at a particular time of the year.
No more than 10,000 seats of the near 30,000-capacity stadium are expected to be affected during each phase of the renovation.
National Stadium Refurbishing Plans: Phases one, two and three will see work being done on the East, North and South stands, generally known as the bleachers area. The final phase will be the Grandstand area, which includes 11 private suites, a royal box and a media area.
Brown noted that work on the National Stadium, which was built for the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games and the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1966, has been long overdue.
The National Stadium has been famous for hosting a number of top-notch events that come with high demand for seating each year, chief among them the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships and the now fast-growing Racers Grand Prix.
In order to solve the seating issue, Brown pointed to the removal of the now obsolete 500m concrete velodrome which encircles the running track. This, he said, will open up the space to install an additional 10,000 seats if needed.
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