Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister yesterday provided an update on the status of the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium.
In an interview with Eyewitness News Sports, Bannister confirmed that work resumed on the stadium in June, and although he was unable to give a definite date for the construction to be complete, he said that the government is working to ensure it is done by next year.
At the start of construction in 2015, the project was projected to cost about $21 million and was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.
In the first quarter of 2017, Woslee Construction Bahamas ceased work on the stadium, citing non-payment for months.
“When we took over the project in June, we didn’t start at a full scale because there was a lot of work to be done. A lot of the steel had been exposed to open air for a long time. We had to meet with the consultants and get past a lot of remedial work,” Bannister said about the project.
“This stadium was poorly planned from the beginning. The manner in which is set out, it will never attract big league baseball, in regards to the sun shining in the stadium.
“We also met a cost that was prohibitive to the Bahamian people. When all is said and done, the stadium will cost close to $33 million to the Bahamian people. So far, we have spent almost $14 million on the stadium, and there’s another 18-19 that has to be spent before it is finished. We will finish the stadium, but it’s not something we really wanted to do. However, it is something that the Bahamian people have already invested significantly. Getting things started was a challenge, but now that they’re rolling we want it to continue smoothly.”
Bannister added that even though the overall idea for the structure of the facility is too far along to change, the government will make some adjustments to try and market it to international suitors.
“This was poorly thought out and poorly designed from the start, but we hope we can market it for night games so you can play games under the lights,” he said.
“In order to attract any kind of tourism, they (Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture) have to make smaller fields inside. They do not have to be grand fields, but at least you can have several games going on at the same time.”
The Andre Rodgers stadium was originally designed to seat up to 4,000 fans, and include international standard dugouts and the latest technology in digital scoreboards and sound system.