“The Real Deal” to present Update on Marion Jones Stadium Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 00:00

Minister Herman Longsworth at the Marion Jones Stadium“The Real Deal” is a very informative show that is quickly taking control of Thursday nights in Belize. It starts at 8 p.m. on Wave TV and Channel 7 and provides inside information on a wide range of topics. On Thursday, May 10, the show will feature the Marion Jones Stadium construction site.

The Guardian accompanied Douglas Singh, host of “The Real Deal,” to the Marion Jones Stadium construction site on Wednesday, May 9. There, we met with Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Minister Longsworth explained that the project is now at “stage 4 (A)”. The actual entrance to the stadium is now being constructed. The foundation has already been established, complete with an elevator shaft and basement space.  The basement space will include dressing rooms and bathroom facilities for athletes and other performers. A ticket booth will be situated at the entrance door. After a ticket is purchased, the individual will enter the stadium and use either the elevator or one of two circular stairways to reach their seat level. The structure will be five stories high, the height of the RF&G building on Coney Drive, and will include VIP and Press Boxes. There will also be office spaces that will house the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports.

Already completed at the stadium are the beach volleyball facility and Olympic standard synthetic track. The beach volleyball pitch has already been used to host its first international tournament, the Central America Championships. The synthetic track will finally provide the quality facility for training that athletes have been begging for. The Marion Jones Stadium will also boast a FIFA-standard football field and grandstand with space for thousands of spectators for international matches. There will also be a practice field inside the stadium for training and local matches. The stadium will also return an age old tradition where Belizeans gather in the bleachers to watch the finishing of the Cross Country Cycling Classic. The road way used by cyclists will be upgraded using hot mix. A building will also be constructed, to host basketball and volleyball matches. When a permanent home for basketball is constructed the building will be used specifically for volleyball. Since the synthetic track will be reserved for competitive athletes only, a jogging track will be constructed for the public.  

The men employed under the project take great pride in their work. They understand very well the importance of the project and the impact it will have on sports in Belize. Some of them were competitive athletes themselves. One man said he is happy because though he did not have a state-of-the-art facility to play in, his children will have one and his labour will play a part in that. Construction is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013 and the stadium is expected to be opened shortly after.

The Venezuelan  Government has contributed $2 million to the project that is expected to cost a little less than $15 million. The Government of Belize is providing the additional funds in order for work to continue. However, the Government is engaged in discussions with the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan. An agreement has been reached that will see the Taiwanese Government assist with a substantial amount of finance for the project. The Government of Belize has chosen not to wait for the funds to reach because the project has been long delayed.

Hon. Herman Longsworth and the project manager of the stadium construction will appear on “The Real Deal” Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Wave TV and Channel 7 to give more details on the project and provide a background on the construction.