Renovation of the Wildey Gymnasium is expected to get under way in April 2016.
This was revealed by Minister responsible for Sport, Stephen Lashley, following the signing of the Minutes of Talks between China and Barbados regarding repairs to be done on that facility.
According to Mr. Lashley, the $19 million renovation project would be entirely funded by the People???s Republic of China.
He added that work was expected to be completed in 14 months, during which time the Gymnasium would be closed to the public. Additionally, the Minister stressed that although the project would be headed by a Chinese team, an effort would be made to use Barbadian labourers.
Mr. Lashley asserted that the project was a proactive measure taken by Government, one that signalled its seriousness to invest in sports in Barbados.?????Sport is serious business and sport is a serious economic frontier ???we have within our grasp the ability to transform sports into a major industry in Barbados,??? he explained.
He continued: ???We cannot talk about improving the standard of sports in Barbados, the standard of our athletes, without showing confidence in them by providing them with the best facilities possible.???
The Minister expressed hope that measures would be put in place to curb the possibility of similar situations occurring in the future.
???Over the years, we have not focused our attention enough on building out the kind of facilities we should have in Barbados???going forward we will (setup a) maintenance programme for all of our facilities to ensure that we don???t have a situation where facilities fall into a state of disrepair,??? Mr. Lashley stated.
In addition to an overall facelift, the building will also be outfitted with a photovoltaic system, security cameras, new bathroom facilities and new doors. In addition, 54 street lights will be erected outside of the building to improve night-time visibility and ease safety concerns.