Thu | Aug 17, 2017

SDF spending $35m to repair basketball courts

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2017 | 3:00 AMRobert Bailey

General Manager of the Sport Development Foundation (SDF) Denzil Wilks says that it is costing his organisation about $35 million to repair the national basketball courts.

Wilks told The Gleaner in an interview that refurbishing work on the courts, which is now under way, will be done in three phases.

"There are three aspects to the work, there is the based to be provided on which the syntactic surface will go, there is the seating and there is the syntactic surface itself," said Wilks.

"The estimate as far as the base is concerned is $4.7 million, and the estimate for the seating is the $11.9 million," he said.

"I would not want to get into the other aspects as yet because we will have a tender process and so one has to be pretty careful. But as soon as we get closer to the synthetic aspect, then we will give details of the other aspects of it," Wilks said.

TIMELINE

Wilks said that the base work would be done first, then the seating, followed by the synthetic surface. "We are looking at two and a half to three months for the completion of the work. We anticipate within another two to three weeks, we hope to have the base work completed, then we get into the seating."

Wilks added that they would also be expanding the seating capacity at the courts, which is located at the National Stadium in Kingston.

"What you had before was approximately 400 seated, but we are taking it to close to 1,000, and so we will have seats at both ends of the court," Wilks said.

"This will help basketball tremendously because where we are taking it to, where it is coming from, it is like from night to day," he said. "It really was in bad state. Everything was battered because the synthetic surface was in a deplorable state, and so it was all in shambles," Wilks stated.

Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Basketball Association Dr Mark Broomfield said that the refurbishing of the courts would help to lift the profile of basketball in Jamaica.

"I am very grateful that there is upgrading work," said Broomfield.

"Repairing of the courts is always going to be a big boost for the Jamaica Basketball Association because it will improve the level of basketball that we are going to be playing," he said.

Broomfield added that his association was hoping to forge a strong partnership with the SDF as they look to increase their fan base around the country.

"We want to have some arrangements where we can have access to the courts because you can't have a national association and we don't have access to the courts, meaning that we want to be holding the keys to the courts," Broomfield said.