It was revealed during a tour of the new Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium yesterday, that the venue is between 70 to 80 percent completed. Project Manager and Architect for the stadium Mike Foster, in the presence of Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) officials, made the revelation to the local sports media.
“The last 30 percent, most will cover our external works like the field, parking area, landscaping, etc,” said Foster.
Work began on the stadium, located opposite Government High School (GHS), in 2016 and was set to initially cost $21 million. It was set to be completed by the end of 2017. However, according to the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle, during her portion of the 2020-2021 National Budget debate last month, the cost of the project to date is $27,486,658. She also said that the proposed completion date, notwithstanding unprecedented times, is December 2020.
Woslee Construction is the lead contractor.
Work on the stadium came to a halt in the first quarter of 2017 after Woslee Construction cited months of non-payment. Prior to the stoppage in 2017, work was progressing swiftly. Back in 2018, work resumed in late July/early August.
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing work to a screeching halt, timelines are affected again. Foster said there may be a cost to the delay and that is beyond his purview. No work began at the stadium up to yesterday.
“We are trying to evaluate what the damages are. We know there are damages and it has happened worldwide and in every business. The contractor has now lost 17 or 18 weeks and we have to imagine that there is some cost to that and how that will be dealt with is a little beyond my pay,” he said. “It has slowed it down a lot. Like I said, we are still trying to restructure a schedule that will somehow see us to the end of the year or early next year. They will be relatively completed by then but right now we are in the process of re-organizing so to speak. Any time a contractor leaves a site and has to come back, he has to re-mobilize. Re-mobilization means money because he had to set aside a number of things – delays, shipment and those things have a cost. Nothing is free.”
There are more components that need to be brought into the country as the project progresses.
“There are still parts of this project that are overseas,” Foster said. “For instance, the outfield walls, padding, the screens, the lights, the scoreboards, the batter’s eye and a big scoreboard with video screens. They are still in the process of being ordered or are in shipment. There is a lot of stuff that is still overseas, and you could imagine that you would have done business 17 or 18 weeks ago and you cannot seem to clear or matriculate that material or those processes to the site. All of that has to be restructured, re-organized, re-ordered or maybe even shipping re-plan – that costs money. We don’t know what that is yet.”
Foster took time to address some concerns such as the positioning of the stadium and the possibility of balls getting hit into nearby residents’ homes and onto the street.
“There is no location on that field where the sun will be in your face. We heard a rumor about the stadium being the wrong way. Let me make it very clear, it has nothing to do with the orientation of the stadium. The first and primary thing that we addressed was safety and the first thing in safety is no sun glare in the ballplayer’s face,” Foster said.
As for the balls hitting homes, he said that the center field is 400 feet and it is 320 feet in the corners. He added that the distance between the wall and the closest house is 250 feet. Pertaining to foul balls hitting cars, he said it will be difficult for balls to clear the roof and if they do, they will drop on the roof.
The stadium is said to be up to both Major League Baseball (MLB) and World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) standards.
A statue of Andre Rodgers is set to be placed at the entrance of the stadium.