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Oct 13, 2016

More Money for Marion Jones; Contract Signed for Multi-Purpose Sports Building

An additional ten million dollars will be spent on the Marion Jones Sporting Complex that has been under construction for years; in fact, for at least ten years. The Government of Mexico is providing the funds for the design and construction of the basketball and volleyball facilities. This morning, the United Nations Office for Projects’ also sign a contract for the installation of state of the art lightning for the sporting complex and in new terms of reference, they will have direct oversight of how the funds are spent. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Marion Jones Sporting Complex on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City will see yet another multimillion-dollar investment on its compound. That’s the announcement made today by the Ministry of Sports at a brief ceremony held at the state of the art facility. The Government of Mexico is providing Belize with a ten million dollar project grant for the design of the indoor basketball and volleyball facility and the installation of FIFA-standard lights on the field. The contract for the latter, a class-two lighting facility, has been awarded to Maheias Construction and expected to be completed within the next four months.

 

Ritchel Dominguez

Ritchel Dominguez, Director, National Sports Council

“This project has been long in the pipeline waiting for a time like this and a time like where we can see that when we can work together, we can get things done. UNOPS has been back and forth getting these projects online for us and there are several more that we need to see happen right here at Marion Jones.”

 

Allan Sharp, Technical Committee Rep., National Sports Council

“With the just less than one million dollar Belize; of course that includes all the designs, UNOPS employed WSP from out of Canada company that does sports designs for all sorts of facilities including football fields and came up with a class two five hundred lops lighting system with four poles. Of course the idea is that eventually they will be adding more poles overtime as more funding becomes available to make it even brighter. But class two is good enough to play the night matches that we need to be having in Belize.”

 

Some time ago, G.O.B. brokered a deal with Mexico for the five-million U.S. dollar project for construction of the indoor sporting facility, particularly for basketball and volleyball. But there was need for the football field to be improved; so Mexico granted a portion of the money, just under one million Belize dollars for the light installation. The indoor facilities will cost about six million dollars and the rest will be spent on administrative fees. Both projects are being managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services.

 

Roberto Woisky

Roberto Woisky, Project Coordinator, UNOPS

“UNOPS, as a United Nations agency, has the mandate to support governments by providing project management, infrastructure and services on the focus of sustainability and national capacity development. We are like the United Nations hands on doers of the system. We are working closely with the Minster of Youth Sports and Culture. We are applying international project management practices as well as doing a detailed design review to ensure that the facility to be built is sustainable and that we get the standards required.”

 

Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Sports

“Our goal is to get the existing infrastructure to be utilized for sporting activities and to bring back to this location the love for sports and continue to make this our national stadium. Ensuring that we become champions takes significant investments. It requires that we provide a clear structure for sports development from early childhood through to adulthood. It requires that we address issues of sports training, coaching, infrastructure development, coordination, collaboration and of course financial sustainability. All elements work together to create a more enabling environment for our children to aspire to play sports—not only for fun or physical development, but to achieve excellence.”

 

Also unveiled at the ceremony today were the blueprints for the indoor facilities, which will be put to tender later this year for construction to start in January of 2017 and completion by February 2018.  Recently, Belize hosted the CODICADER games as well as an international volleyball tournament. NSC Technical Committee Rep and President of the Belize Volleyball Association, Allan Sharp says that sports need facilities to train.

 

Allan Sharp

Allan Sharp

“There’s a second part of today’s presentation and that includes a second part of the funding that came from Mexico which involves the basketball and volleyball facility which will be built just to my right, just to the north of here which will have four training courts which can be converted to one main court with two side courts. And the facility will be able to hold fifteen hundred people. The training facilities is extremely important if any sports wants to do well. Track and field got its track—still working on the field—but without having the facility you can’t do much as a federation.”

 

The Olympic Committee will also be constructing its facility to the rear of the Marion Jones compound. Duane Moody for News Five.

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