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Master plan outlined for Bahamas National Stadium Complex

Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry G. Christie said Thursday, April l4, the proposed national stadium complex to be constructed in The Bahamas with a $30 million gift from the People’s Republic of China , represents a ‘new chapter’ in the relationship between the two countries.

The state-of-the-art, multi-purpose sporting stadium, which will seat 30,000 persons, is to be located at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre and is expected to be completed by 2008.

Present at the Cabinet office for the signing of an agreement for the stadium were the Hon. Alfred Sears, Attorney General and Minister of Education; the Hon. Neville Wisdom, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mr. Wendell Major, Secretary to the Cabinet; Chinese Ambassador His Excellency Li Yuanming; members of the Bahamas Olympic Association; members of The Bahamas and Chinese Technical Teams; representatives from the Softball and Baseball federations, and the Hot Rod Association, whose facilities would be affected by the redevelopment plans of the sports center.

The Prime Minister said the gift did not come without negotiation and planning. Initially, the Chinese Government agreed to an 8,000-seat arena, but after he explained the level of athletes The Bahamas is producing, it was agreed to increase the number of seats to 30,000. The pledge was made during an official visit by Prime Minister Christie to China last summer.

‘It will become a lasting monument to the friendship between our peoples and will be key in the continued march of The Bahamas as a renowned and respected power in sports on the world stage,’ he said.

The Prime Minister also said the stadium will form the heart of the national sporting complex at Oakes Field and its construction will include ancillary works, which will transform the entire complex into a set of facilities second to none in the region in function and looks. The stadium is also to be used for national and cultural events.

‘It is obvious that Bahamians are warmly enthusiastic and captivated by the prospect of the magnificent project ‘ this glorious new temple of Bahamian spirit ‘ and they are closely watching as we come nearer to the point where the National Stadium Complex will rise from the ground to preside over the new golden age of Bahamian athletics,’ the Prime Minister said.

He said the move represents a new chapter in relationship with China, as experts on both sides are already working closely and will do so in the future.

The Joint Technical Committees have made significant progress toward completion of a Master Plan for the organized development and expansion of facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.

‘This will provide a major spark of excitement and motivation to become the wind behind a new generation of Bahamian champions,’ the Prime Minister said. The Master Plan has been divided into sections. One to include the National Stadium, the Baseball Stadium and the current Thomas A Robinson Stadium, the new softball stadium and the Aquatic Centre.

Section two will deal with the Kendal G. L. Isaacs Gymnasium, the National Tennis Center and the Sports Heroes Hall of Fame. It will also include the construction of a new multi-purpose indoor facility, which will accommodate up to 10,000 spectators at one time.

Section three will include the Cycling Track, the soccer facility and an outdoor upgraded facility for recreational sports now located at the Baillou Hill Sporting Complex. Non-core sports like netball and field hockey will also be accommodated by the Master Plan.

The Prime Minister said one of the things of which he is proud is that the plan makes provision for the integration into the Sports Complex of the large, beautiful body of water, Big Pond.

Construction of the stadium will proceed with approval of the technical preliminary design by mid-August, 2005. Detailed drawings are to be completed and submitted by the Chinese architectural team by early December, 2005, and approved the same month.

Also, the Chinese Government will select an appropriate construction company from China, whose principals will come to The Bahamas for formal signing of a construction agreement with The Bahamas Government.

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