New synthetic track opened at Calabar
Calabar High School's bid to extend their dominance of the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championship was given a big boost with the opening and dedication yesterday of the first all-weather synthetic track for a high school in the Caribbean.
At the ceremony held at the Red Hills Road-based school, 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 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 the majority of the funds," he added.
Local firm Pavecon Limited were the contractors for the six-lane track.
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said that his alma mater will continue to dominate Boys' 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 but not at maintaining them," he added.
Patterson also disclosed that GraceKennedy, title sponsors of Boys and Girls' Champs, made a contribution of $5 million towards a stand in memory of former administrator Adrian Wallace.
The complex will be named McKenley/Wint in honour of the two great Olympians.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in officially opening the complex, informed those present that the government has invested millions on sports infrastructure over the last three years.
The inaugural Calabar track meet will get under way today, starting at 8:30 a.m.