Minister of Works Desmond Bannister has warned that the main asset in The Bahamas’ sports tourism product, requires some “much needed” renovations.
His statement came during his contribution to the 2018-19 Budget Communication last week.
Bannister announced that the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium has deteriorated significantly since it was opened in 2011, and noted that although it’s unlikely his ministry would be able to begin renovations on the stadium this year, he considers the project an urgent matter.
While he did not list a specific number, Bannister predicted that the repairs will be in excess of $10 million.
The Thomas A Robinson Stadium – named for Thomas Augustus Robinson, who competed at four Olympic Games as a sprinter – is a multi-purpose stadium that has a capacity to hold 15,000 people, but has the ability to be expanded to hold an additional 7,000.
“At some stage, the stadium will have to be closed for some work to be done, as the current state of deterioration will not be permitted to fester,” Bannister said.
“Engineers have identified many challenges in design, equipment functionality, securing spare parts, lack of maintenance, obsolete equipment and a lack of training. We plan to conduct electrical and building works to the stadium, and this investment will most likely be in the range of some $10.8 million dollars.”
Bannister also didn’t specify the length of time the stadium would have to be closed in order to complete the renovations and what would happen if the timing conflicts with an international event.
The Bahamas Bowl is the only major international event slated to be staged at the stadium this year (December 22). The Bowl, which is also confirmed for next year, will be joined in 2019 by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays 2019, which will take place in May.