A new EC $5million stadium facility with a synthetic track, the first of its kind of St Vincent and the Grenadines, will be officially opened on Wednesday in what is the first phase of the project that began in February this year.
Situated in the South Windward area at the Diamond Industrial Estate, five minutes from the Argyle International Airport, the stadium will have a synthetic 400m running track, an international standard football field, temporary seating for 1500 spectators including the disabled and is intended to host regional and international track and field events. The first of those events will likely be the 2021 NACAC All-Age Championships set for July 2021, but there are also benefits for local athletes.
“Usually, our athletes would have to travel to Barbados or Grenada to try for Olympic qualifying standards,” said Dyke Cato, who declared that the island’s athletes can now achieve their Olympic qualifying standards at home. The stadium will also be outfitted with long and triple jump pits as well as facilities for the pole vault, high jump, discus and the hammer throw.
A new electronic timing system is also to be acquired for the facility.
Cato, a sports officer attached to the Division of Sports in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, said another phase of the government-funded project is set to begin in early 2021. That phase will involve the installation of stadium lights and the construction of a perimeter fence and a parking lot.
For now, work is ongoing to complete the first phase of the construction work.
“It is 90 percent complete, the only things left is some landscaping and a concession area,” Cato said. He added that they will also be retrofitting shipping containers to convert them into changing rooms.
But while the government is expecting to host the NACAC Age-Group Championships next year, they will not be quite ready for larger events like the Carifta Games because of an inadequate number of hotel rooms, an issue that is expected to be remedied in the coming years.
Cato revealed that the Sandals, Holiday Inn, The Marriott and Black Sands hotel chains are all expected to begin building hotels in close proximity to the facility in early 2021.
The stadium is next door to a Home of Football facility being constructed under the FIFA Goal Project.