During her contribution to the 2020-2021 national budget debate in the House of Assembly on Thursday, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle stated that she was advised the much-anticipated Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium will be completed by December of this year.
The stadium, which is being constructed opposite Government High School (GHS) in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, came up out of the ground in 2016 under the Christie administration. The cost of the project to date, according to Rolle, is $27,486,658.
“In relation to the baseball stadium presently under construction, I am advised that work is steadily progressing and its proposed completion date is December 2020. This government is not about talk, we are about action. Notwithstanding unprecedented times and the budget, the Ministry of Works, the supervisor of this project, has advised this minister that we are expected to complete it by December 2020,” Rolle said. “What we have here is progress. I thank this government for its substantial investment in sports, and in this facility, that will help save many of our youth – an unprecedented figure of over $27 million and this is for sports.”
The stadium was initially set to be completed by the end of 2017 to the tune of $21 million.
Rolle stressed that these are unprecedented times and she will not make any promises. The Bahamas is in the hurricane season and hopefully there is no hit to the economy which would affect the completion date of the stadium, the minister said.
Just over a year ago, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister said the stadium was expected to cost in excess of $32 million upon completion and would have been completed by 2020. He had said that the cost overruns alone were “concerning”.
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. Work had been ongoing until the arrival of COVID-19 forced a stoppage. The stadium is finally taking shape, with a roof on the stands already in place.
Woslee Construction is still the main contractor.
Baseball players on New Providence have been without a stadium since the demolishing of the old Andrew Rodgers Baseball Stadium in 2006. That stadium was demolished in order to make room for the construction of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The two main baseball complexes in New Providence are the Freedom Farm Fields in Yamacraw and the Junior Baseball League of Nassau’s (JBLN) Field of Dreams Complex at St. Andrew’s School. Both are on the eastern side of the island.
There are about 20 Bahamian professional baseball players who are with Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations in the minor league system in the United States. These include players such as Kristian Robinson (Arizona Diamondbacks), Jasrado Chisholm (Miami Marlins), Tahnaj Thomas (Pittsburgh Pirates), D’Shawn Knowles (Los Angeles Angels), his twin brother D’Vaughn Knowles (New York Yankees), Trent Deveaux (Angels), Lucius Fox Jr. (Tampa Bay Rays), Keithron Moss (Texas Rangers) and Warren Saunders (New York Mets).
When completed, the stadium is expected to feature a main MLB-approved field, two supporting fields, a main grandstand, a general seating area, international standard dugouts and the latest in technology in digital scoreboards and sound systems. The main stadium was being built to accommodate up to 4,000 fans.
When the stadium is completed, the National Sports Authority (NSA) will be charged with the day-to-day running of the facility.