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New stadium spurs sports centre master plan

World-class venue to be the centrepiece of 450-acre sports centre redevelopment that includes an athletes' village, velodrome cycle track and American football field 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

As the new $30-million Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in the heart of New Providence enters the final stage of construction, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has signed-off on a master plan to develop the surrounding 450-acre plot, which it also owns.

“If we want to have a world-class sports and entertainment facility that can play host to international events, then we have to have the infrastructure to support it,” says Nick Dean, principal at Integrated Building Services, which was commissioned by the Sports Ministry to draw up civil and construction designs for the strategic redevelopment of the site.

In partnership with US firm IBI Group, the Nassau-based company employed a phased approach to developing a master plan that would fulfill the Ministry’s mandate and “adequately satisfy the needs of stakeholders for the next 20 years and beyond.”

“The first phase was the report stage, and this included studies of the site such as environmental impact and traffic impact reports,” says Dean. “The next phase was to meet with stakeholders, and the client, and discuss what their needs were. Basically, we turned a wish list into a needs assessment.”

Stakeholders include the Royal Bahamas Police Force, various sports federations, the Bahamas Olympic and Special Olympic committees, as well as numerous sports and activities groups, and charity and community foundations.

At the design stage, the decision was taken to create a sports centre that would accommodate all of the interested groups.

“We looked at the existing buildings and the road network and, after serious discussions with all involved, came up with composite design for the entire site.”

The master plan anticipates 15,000 capacity parking, a recreational park, velodrome cycling track, athlete’s village, American football field, baseball and softball stadiums, as well as a commercial district and a hot rod drag racing strip, among other facilities.

“The sports centre design presents The Bahamas with the opportunity to be regional leader in sports tourism, which is in-line with initiatives by the Ministry of Tourism [and Aviation],” adds Dean.

Although the plans have been reviewed and approved by the Sports Ministry, as yet the construction phase has not been put out to tender.

“Let’s just say that it is well beyond my pay scale to say when the construction phase will begin,” says Dean, “but the stadium will be completed next year, and, once contractors have been selected, Phase One will be under the contracts signed from that tender and then subsequent phases will be budgeted for after that.”

Speaking at the Bahamas Society of Engineers, Bahamas Electricity Corp (BEC) general manager Kevin Basden says he sees potential in renewable energy, and urges entrepreneurs, skilled professionals to grasp opportunities.

With the New Year dawning, the Bahamas Financial Services Board is looking to put before government initiatives to maintain the jurisdiction's competitive edge.

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