The Barbados Lumber Company Centre is the first of several facilities in various communities to be revamped by the National Sports Council [NSC] with assistance from the National Cultural Foundation and construction company Williams Industries.
Located at Waterford, St. Michael, the Lumber Company project commenced in early February and is expected to be completed by June this year.
Acting director of the NSC, Neil Murrell, explained that work would be done this year on five to ten facilities. However, where the soon to be retrofitted Lumber Company facility was concerned, he added that once finished it would be accessible to persons in the community.
“This is the first facility, but we have several other facilities in the pipeline to be executed in this financial year starting in April. We have a number [facilities] that we have identified, but I am not at liberty to let you know before the powers that be,” Murrell said.
Despite not being able to disclose the estimated cost for such an undertaking, Murrell quickly pointed out that the sports council did not intend to overspend and said they had so far utilized internal resources to make the project a reality.
Additionally, clubs and organizations that utilize the Lumber Company facility were recently informed by the NSC in a meeting that it would be unavailable until the project was completed.
“The sports council has a power washer, so we will do that and the cost to paint cannot be in the tens of thousands of dollars. But I wouldn’t be able to pin down a price at this stage because most of that is internal. But so far there has been a regrading of the field to make it level so that activities can take place on a levelled playing field.
“It is a four to five-month project which started with the regrading of the area and then we allowed the grass to come through, so that will take four to five months once the rain steps in. There will also be a retrofitting of the pavilion, meaning painting to remove the graffiti, replace the louvres, replace electrical fittings inside, the doors and locks will be changed inside as well.
“So, at the end of the four to the five-month period, we would have a total facility which would cater not only to sports but the community where the focus of the sports council in the next couple years will be on integrating young people of the community into sports, education and art. So, the retrofitted community will be able to allow the community to use the centre for homework, dancing and other engagements,” Murrell said.
Next door to the Barbados Lumber Company facility is the National Stadium currently undergoing repairs and which is also managed by the NSC management.
Work commenced at the start of this year with the removal of the roofs at the 48-year-old stadium and is expected to be completed by year-end according to the Minister of Sports John King.
Just last month the VIP section officially named the Louis Lynch stand was on fire. Despite its deplorable state, the facility is still being used to host track and field meets including school sports.