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#447379 - 09/25/12 12:47 PM Speedy Synthetic Track In Place At Marion Jones
Marty Offline
Belizeans have been waiting the better part of a decade for the construction of the new multi-purpose facility at the Marion Jones Stadium.

Ground was broken in 2004, and construction started in earnest in 2008 - meaning the place has been closed for four years - and it won't be open for at least another year and some months.

But the first thing to finish was the fence - and today the man who built that fence before he was elected, Minister of State with responsibility for Sports Herman Longsworth - pulled up the curtain on the synthetic track that athletes and fans have been waiting on forever, it seems. Jules Vasquez got a look:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
This is the world class, IAAF certified 400 meters synthetic running track at the Marion Jones Stadium. It cost 2 million dollars funded by the government of Venezuela. It was installed by a US firm named Traction and certified by a British Company

Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State - Sports
"We choose to elevate and seep the track on piles simply because of the unstable ground that we have here and the weight of what we intended to put down."

"This track is here for several life times. The surfacing now is world class, in fact the guys who came here - the consulting firm that came to do the inspection for certification is a company named AECOM out of Britain - they told me that this surface is exactly the same surface as that which was used at the 2012 Olympics in London, so we have a world class surfacing on the track."

The surface should last 25 years - with proper care and Longsworth says a management protocol will have to be put into place before it is used.

But it will be opened for athletes to use before the rest of the facility which is about 50% complete:

Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State - Sports
"We've achieve the 400 meters running track. We achieve the beach volleyball facility. We are about 75% of complete with the FIFA standard football field and we are in the process of constructing the actual grand stand facility which is the main structure that is going to be built here."

The grand-stand is a massive towering, structure; it will hold up to six thousand persons - and will go one deck higher than you see it now.

Work also has to be completed on the football field and the cycling track:

Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State - Sports
"We have resurfaced the cycle track and you guys can have a look at that. We currently don't have the funds in the budget but I want to find the money to widen the cycle track so that we can create a jogging track and a cycle track. When we have cycling we can then use the full width of that. But until we can do that people will access to the cycle track on a daily basis they can use it but like I said it would be managed properly."

And with all that - it will be more than a year before this facility is ready to be opened.

Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State - Sports
"We want to have the facility completely ready for public by the end of 2013. We are pretty much on track where that is concern as we speak."

2013 will make it more than 9 years since ground was broken - and President Chen - now jailed in Taiwan - scored this symbolic goal - we didn't know then that almost a decade later, Belizeans still wouldn't have had their chance to jump for joy.

A few notes, first - the British from which came to certify the track did find a few issues with the installation of a few sections of the track - and the contractor is required to fix those before they sign off on it.

But the runway for the long jump and triple jump was not certified; that will have to be redone completely - since the surface is uneven.

The entire project will cost 30 million dollars - with 2 million from the Venezuelans and 10 million from the Taiwanese. The Taiwanese money has long been promised but has still not come through. That means it is mostly government funded - which may explain the glacial pace with which things have so far proceeded.

Channel 7


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#447382 - 09/25/12 01:17 PM Re: Speedy Synthetic Track In Place At Marion Jones [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

$30 Million Marion Jones Stadium to be finished end of 2013

The Marion Jones Sporting Complex has been under construction from the era of a P.U.P. government. But now in its second term, the U.D.P. government is hoping that it will be completed by the end of December 2013. The facility includes new bleachers, a FIFA standard field, a beach volleyball facility, and a four hundred meter Olympic class synthetic track amongst other amenities. Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Herman Longsworth took the media on a walking tour of the facility which will cost thirty million dollars at the end of construction.

Herman Longsworth, Minister of State with Responsibility for Sports

“We are, I would say, about fifty percent complete as it was originally designed. We have achieved, as I guess people will see a little bit later in the interview: we’ve achieved the four hundred meter running track; we’ve achieved the beach volleyball facility; we are, I would say, about seventy-five percent complete with the FIFA standard football field and we are in the process of constructing the actual grand stand facility, which is the main structure that is going to be built here, noh. The track is, as most people are aware and it has cost us some money, but it has cost us some money because we chose to elevate and seat the track on plies simply because of the unstable grounds that we have here and the weight of what we intended to put down. This track is here for a lifetime; for several lifetimes actually. The surfacing now is world class. In fact, the guys who came here, the consulting firm that came to do the inspection for certification, is a company named AECOM out of Britain. They told me that this surface is exactly the same surface as that which was used at the 2012 Olympics in London. So we have a world class surfacing on the track.”

Herman Longsworth

Jose Sanchez

“The public has regularly enjoyed free, unobstructed access to this particular field. Will that continue or will they be limited in any form?”

Herman Longsworth

“There can no longer be free, unobstructed used. There has to be managed used of the facility. The public will have use of the facility, but it has to be managed; we cannot afford to lose what we’ve invested this kind of money in. So we will have to put in place a proper management structure that will manage the use of the facility. But that does not say that the public will not have access to the facility, but they will be managed in the way they use it.”

Jose Sanchez

“Specifically the people who jog in the morning and in the evening.”

Herman Longsworth

“I didn’t mention, we have resurfaced the cycle track and you guys can look at that. We currently don’t have the funds in the budget, but I want to find the money to widen the cycle track so that we can create a jogging track and a cycle track. And when we have cycling meets, then we can use the full width of that; but then until we can do that, people will have access to the cycle track on a daily basis. They can use it, but like I said it will be managed; properly managed.”

Jules Vasquez, 7News

“Now in regards to the four hundred meter block, how much did it cost—the piling, surfacing; everything?

Herman Longsworth

“The track cost just over two million dollars. We want to have the facility completely ready for public use by the end of 2013. We are pretty much on track where that is concerned as we speak. We are hopeful that we can maintain it that way.”

Longsworth said that the government is expecting to receive ten million Belize dollars from Taiwan to finish the project.

Channel 5


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#460088 - 03/13/13 02:11 PM Re: Speedy Synthetic Track In Place At Marion Jones [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Marion Jones Sporting Complex upgrade to be completed by end of 2013?

The Marion Jones Sporting Complex has been closed for construction since 2008, and apart from the erection of a fence around the grounds, not much seems to have been done on what was slated to be a first class athletic facility…at least from the outside. Today News Five spoke to Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth and asked for an update on the project.

Herman Longsworth – Minister of Sports

Herman Longsworth

“Marion Jones is proceeding; there were some administrative glitches that we’ve ironed out, sorted out and works have been continuing at the stadium as we speak. What we intend to have at the Marion Jones Facility—currently what I know we will have—is beach volleyball, the facility is already there; full athletics, the track is already in place. We need to do a bit more work around the track, but the track is there. We will have football and cycling. I am hoping, I am still hoping that I can find the money—it wasn’t a part of the contract, it wasn’t a part of the monies allocated to the project—but I am trying to put a building there that would provide for basketball and volleyball. So I am hoping that we can get that. I also want, if I can find the funds and I am really looking to that, to put racquetball out there. There is a move to racquetball right now and a lot of support coming. So I am hoping that we can get it there and get our people to get involved. In terms of the construction, what is being constructed under this phase of the works, under this contract that is being worked on right now, is the grandstand facilities: the bleachers, the seating facility, the consignment areas, the shops, proper entrance—the public area. There has to be another phase to finish up all the offices and all the VIP booths and that sort of thing. But this phase is essentially to complete the public areas so we can actually start to use that facility.”

According to Longsworth, the project is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. From the outside looking in, that seems a little optimistic, at least if the finished work will resemble the world class comprehensive sporting facility that Belizeans are expecting.

Channel 5


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