It has been described as a world class stadium in the making. The Isidoro Beaton Stadium, home of the Belmopan Bandits, went under construction the earlier part of last year to transform the local stadium to a top notch facility that can host international FIFA standard matches. While the FIFA standard Lights from Moscow that emit some 800 lux, and itís over 12 hundred capacity bleachers, and state of the art VIP rooms and locker facilities will make the Isidoro Beaton stadium a site to see, the most unique aspect about this project is the installment of an artificial grass pitch, something never before done in the country. Christy Mastry, the General Manager of the Belize Infrastructure Limited, the organization that is heading this project, spoke to us about installment of the 2 star FIFA qualified synthetic turf.
Christy Mastry, General Manager BIL: The strength of the artificial grass is long term durability. They come with anywhere from an 8-10 year warranty with the actual product itself, and that ranges with a 40 hour a week ability to play. Now none of our entire country we use, not even in recreational play 40hours a week. So that even extends the life of the product because you’re not playing on it as much. One of the greatest features of the product is that it drains immediately. You can have an absolutely soaking rain and within 45 minutes to an hour you can get out there and continue with an entire competition level game.
BIL commissioned a FIFA certified company from El Salvador to install the synthetic turf. Works have since been completed on the pitch and will be handed over to BIL to continue works on the overall stadium. Another aspect of the design that caught our attention was an area of the old Isidoro Beaton stadium that was fenced out. We asked Mastry about that aspect of the design.
Christy Mastry, General Manager BIL: What happened is when we were actually doing the site plan for the overall stadium, we noticed that the adjacent land area on the side was more than ample to start to house future parking, especially if there would be larger games where there’s a need and demand for parking. So what you all will notice now is that we’ve designed a hard fence wall to control flow, and we’ve allowed for excessive land on the outside of that hard perimeter fence so that in the future with just some simple gravel infill that can be an adjacent parking lot to the facility allowing more control within and control of visibility particularly because as we know, a lot of these games needs to drive revenue and the way you do that is by controlling people access and by controlling visibility by people standing outside the fences. So we decided to put in that hard wall and continue the perimeter wall on the other 3 sides as were existing.
Belmopan residents, especially football fanatics, are sitting on edge waiting for the day that the gates of Isidoro Beaton Stadium are reopened. So the big question is when?
Christy Mastry, General Manager BIL: I know there’s several teams hoping for us to give a very finite answer and I know the Bandits are very anxious to get back out there. I’m going to go not officially on the record, and to try and say we’re really hoping to get this thing open by March of 2016. We’re excited to be able to bring this project into Belmopan. We know that there is a lot of eagerness for the opening and we thank very much the team who has allowed us to take over their play area for such a long extensive period of time and we hope to deliver it back at a much higher level than they saw it closed down at and we really hope that they use it to the best of their ability.
The total costs of the refurbishments at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium are at an estimated $3. 5 million dollars. The contractors hope to complete the works at the stadium by March 2016