Facelift coming for Gymnasium
The Garfield Sobers Gymnasium is in for an overhaul next year.
Minister of Sport, Culture and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this announcement today during the handing over of two cheques to the Challenor School and the Hope and Care Foundation at his ministry at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael. He added that he expected assistance from the Chinese Government as it related to the project.
“The government of China is going to embark on a complete refurbishment of the gymnasium and we hope that will begin next year. The entire floor will actually be changed, the entire facility will be enhanced and therefore we will have a much better facility to market and of course I believe that the events that management will plan would benefit from all of that,” Lashley said.
The Wildey Gymnasium last underwent refurbishment under a grant by the Chinese government in 2005. It was built in 1992 with accommodation for about 5,000.
On November 29 this year, the Gymnasium Limited in collaboration with the National Sports Council put on the first ever inaugural Sporting Clubs of Barbados Expo and All Stars Basketball Encounter to showcase various sporting disciplines on the island while at the same time raising money for the respective charities.
The turnout at the expo was disappointing and Lashley said even though the expo did not reach its intended target, they were still pleased with the display by the various sporting federations and were open to ideas for next year.
“The Gymnasium is very open to all ideas and I think the particular event [expo] can only be strengthened by embracing all the various things that have been said including things that were mentioned in the media and I am sure they would strengthen the programme for next year,” Lashley said.
“I don’t think the event was badly advertised. I think like everything else it is a new event and I think what may have happened is that particular weekend we had so many other activities.”
Lashley explained that next year they would be targeting schools in order to enhance the sporting expo program.
“I think they chose basketball as a first event but I am sure next year the board and management will look at what is in the offering and after they have canvassed all views they will collaborate and come up with something that is of particular interest,” he explained.
Chief executive officer of Challenor School, Sharonne Taitt, said they were very grateful to receive such a donation in these hard economic times and hoped more would follow in order to help the children who are in need.
“Given the financial difficulties we are currently dealing with in terms of funding and donations, it is a blessing to actually get funds so close to the holiday that we would be able to immediately turn over and help some of the kids who are really economically disadvantaged, in addition to the other things they are dealing with,” Taitt said.