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Dec 21, 2007

Marion Jones stadium renovations to start … again

Story PictureIt’s a project that’s been in the pipelines so long we thought it had gotten stuck. But as News Five’s Marion Ali reports, tonight the Musa Administration is once again promising that work on the Marion Jones Sporting Complex will soon begin.

Marion Ali, Reporting
The Marion Jones Sports Complex may look deplorable now, but according to Minister of Sports Rodwell Ferguson, in two years the stadium will look like this.

The first stage of that transition occurred on Thursday when a multi-million dollar contract was signed between the Government of Belize, Lopez Equipment Company Limited, and Bella Vista Group Development Company Limited for a complete overhaul of the site and field. The promises of the project years late but Ferguson says this time it’s for real.

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Youth and Sports
“This is a project in the pipelines from about 2003 and ten million dollars will be provided by the Taiwanese Embassy or the country of Taiwan, the remainder by the Government of Belize, which is almost seven million dollars by the Government of Belize. … We will be able to host international sports at the top level and I believe it will be world class in relation to any other stadium in the United States or any other part of the world.”

Marion Ali
“It’s currently named the Marion Jones Sports Complex, will that name remain?”

Rodwell Ferguson
“Yes, I think Marion Jones is a hero to Belize and no matter what happens to her international or in the United States, we in Belize consider Marion Jones to be our hero. So the name will remain Marion Jones.”

Project Manager Noel Harvey says while the name stays, Marion Jones will get a complete makeover.

Noel Harvey, Project Manager, Belize Sports Complex
“There is two plans to it, there is the actual Belize Sports Centre Project, which is an indoor arena which will have sporting for basketball, volleyball, and other indoor activities. And then there is the second aspect of it whereas they will generate the overall plan for the stadium, which will include the cycle track, the running track, and the football field and other outdoor activities.”

“This cycle track will be realigned closer to what you see there, the running track. So starting from about that lamp post there this track will be realigned and go straight across and then a portion of the building will sit right where we are here.”

Marion Ali
“And it will be how big? How many people will it be able to house?”

Noel Harvey
“The building will hold about four thousand five hundred people during a basketball or volleyball game. For other functions it will have a greater capacity.”

It’s a project that people like National Sports Coordinator for primary schools, Marvin Ottley, believe will help to improve the level of our sports in Belize.

Marvin Ottley, National Sports Coordinator, Primary Schools
“Everywhere you travel in the region and in the Caribbean or the States you see a state-of-the-art complex and you get an opportunity to play in something that is appreciated. Unfortunately, we don’t have that in Belize, so I think it’s a big step from the government side to make sure that something like this is a reality. I think for athletes older and present and in the future, I think it’s something that we will all have to cherish and appreciate because a facility is certainly an upliftment of your performance.”

The complex will be completed in twenty-four months time, with the work on the ground set to begin in the first week of January, 2008. Reporting, Marion Ali for News Five.

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