Calabar open synthetic all-weather track
Calabar High school's dominance in the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships was given a big boost with the opening and dedication of the first all-weather synthetic track for a secondary institution in the Caribbean.
At the ceremony held at the Red Hills Road-based school yesterday, Vincent Lawrence, chairman of the Complex Implementation team announced that a total of $55 million was spent to make the dream a reality.
"We are gathered here today (yesterday) to mark this special event where Arthur Wint, Dennis Johnson, Herbert McKenley and others were nurtured (and this) is a dream come true," Lawrence, who is also a Calabar old boy said.
"The dream started in the 1990s and now it is a reality. In 2013 after talks, the old boys had the ground surveyed. The government through the Sports Development Foundation had granted $10 million for several schools towards a sports project," he shared.
"The minister of sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, indicated that the funding from the government would not be enough and the school through its old boys and management team came up with majority of the funds," he also added.
WILL DOMINATE CHAMPS
The project was done by BSW based in Germany with local firm Pavecon Limited as the contractor for the six-lane track.
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said that his alma mater will continue to dominate Champs with this historic track.
"The track is very welcome and will push our boys more. I hope other schools will follow in order for Jamaica to benefit," Patterson said.
"When you have a facility like this it has to be maintained properly. We are good at building things and not at maintaining," he added.
Patterson also disclosed that GraceKennedy made a contribution of $5 million towards a spectator stand in memory of former athletic administrator Adrian Wallace.
The complex will be named after outstanding Jamaican Olympians Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint, who both attended the institution.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller offered her blessing in officially opening the complex.
The inaugural McKenley/Wint track meet will get underway at the facility today, starting at 8:30 a.m.