Holmwood target better facilities
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
"It's a miracle we keep winning." These are the words of Paul Bailey, principal of local girls' champions Holmwood Technical, who stretched their stranglehold on the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships to eight consecutive years, with a hard-fought victory that climaxed at the National Stadium last Saturday.
Bailey pointed to the school's limited physical resources and difficulties where tackling this problem is concerned, and gave details surrounding a $5 million rehabilitation plan, which includes work on the current playing field.
The field, which sits at the foot of a hill that leads to the institution, is in a deplorable state and is in urgent need of serious rehabi-litation work. Small stones and dirt are in place where grass should be, a clear threat to the athletes who use it as part of their preparation, and students who use it for other general purposes.
"It's really a miracle that we have been doing so well with the facilities that we have here," said Bailey. "The field is really sub-standard and we really need to upgrade the field, but of course the major challenge is the financial resources. We are going to be appealing to persons to come forward and assist us."
Track coach Maurice Wilson also made an appeal, shortly after leading his team to its latest victory.
"We have done extremely well with what we have, but we need to galvanise enough support so that we can have better physical facilities and equipment for the team. This is something that we must look into," said Wilson.
In the meantime, Bailey has drafted a programme, which he hopes will get the requisite financial support, as he looks to improve the school's sporting infrastructure with an eye on continued success.
The administrator has identified lands which he hopes to convert into a playing field for football matches and physical education classes. This, he reasons, will take significant pressure off the present playing field and allow them to use it solely for track and field purposes, as well as allowing them more time for upgrading work.
"In terms of upgrading the field by the roadside, I have not yet got an estimate, but we are looking at doing another field close by, where we will be able to take some work off this field and work on that one in the meantime," said Bailey. "That would cost us $5.3 million to prepare."
He added: "We also plan to have physical education classes there and play our football matches so that we can reserve this current one for athletics, take the pressure off it, and upgrade it."
The issues do not stop there for the Frankfield-based school, with the gym also in need of attention as there is currently not enough space for the fitness equipment.
Bailey is hoping that the school's importance and contribution to the national programme will push sponsors in its direction.
"We are one of the major nurseries for the national programme and any assistance given to Holmwood will be towards assisting the national programme," Bailey said.
"It's a real challenge but we must give thanks to a number of persons who have been supporting us. Because of the whole recession, we lost a number of our sponsors, but several stood with us," Bailey added.