(SKNIS): The Ministry of Sports is preparing to embark on a multimillion-dollar upgrade plan to improve sporting facilities across St. Kitts.
Senior leadership from the ministry, headed by the Minister of Sports, the Honourable Samal Duggins, conducted a media tour of six of the facilities that have seen some upgrade work or are scheduled to undergo repairs in the coming weeks. The most extensive upgrade project will take place at the Kim Collins Athletic Stadium.
Engineer Jared Joseph at the Public Works Department (PWD) noted that the scope of works includes a complete overhaul of the electrical system and plumbing systems, the steel frame of the pavilion will be sandblasted and repainted and all the seating will be removed and replaced. Cracks in the structure will be repaired and two dry walls at the back of the pavilion replaced by concrete walls. The interior roof and tiles will also be overhauled as general aesthetic fixes to the bathrooms and gyms.
Minister Duggins lamented the state of disrepair at the stadium named after the national athletic icon Kim Collins. He added that the track will also be replaced.
“This work has not been done since 2013. That’s a decade ago and how did we allow this as a country,” the minister stated. “And while I am only here now for some 11 months, I believe that we all must be held accountable for the conditions of our sporting facilities. The people of St. Kitts and Nevis have my assurance that this will not continue. We are about to change the dynamics and give the people the best because they deserve the best.”
The touring party, which also included Valencia Syder, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, and Jennifer Sirjue, Project Officer in the ministry, and media members also visited the Conaree Playing Field. On the cricket side of the facility, two sets of bathrooms for males and females were constructed. On the football section of the facility, construction of a new 8,000-square-foot pavilion is expected to start in two months. Incorporated into the design are bars, public access restrooms, an official lounge, disability seating and more.
The tour also included stops at the sporting facilities in St. Peter’s, Newtown, Halfway Tree, and Lamberts.
At the Atiba Harris Sporting Complex in St. Peter’s, bathrooms for the players and public access bathrooms were renovated. Future plans outlined include the installation of a roof on the seating area, painting, upgrades to the outdoor sports lighting, installation of bleachers and construction of a structure to host a gym, kitchen and laundry facilities.
Work at the Newtown Playing Field features repairing the pavilion roof, upgrading the official booth, replacing the bleachers and doors as well as painting. Similarly, at the Halfway Tree Playing Field, the bleachers will be replaced, the roof repaired, bathrooms renovated, and the structure painted, while the recently concluded scope of work at the Lamberts Playing Field included the installation of basketball hoops and the conversion of the netball area to host futsal matches. A section of the facility will be outfitted with park toys for a children’s play area and a retaining wall added.