Sport

Big plans for STETHS

Sports complex development twinned with Santa Cruz Community Centre

Monday, October 23, 2017



Santa Cruz , St Elizabeth — A recently installed artificial lighting system at the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) Sports Complex has provided a boost for sports in Santa Cruz and the wider St Elizabeth.

But STETHS Principal Keith Wellington is not stopping there. He has his sights on making the STETHS Sports Complex unquestionably a facility of choice in Jamaica within the next few years.

Key to Wellington's vision is the allied development of the neighbouring Santa Cruz Community Centre where a playfield and other sporting facilities have been neglected for years.

Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Eastern Evon Redman has asked the STETHS principal to head a committee which will propose a proper programme of development for the community centre.

Currently, according to Redman, an adult swimming pool, which was started back in the 1970s but never finished, is in its “final stages of completion”. A children's swimming pool is also to be rehabilitated. The swimming pool project is being supported with money from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Redman said.

A highly productive well at STETHS opened by the Digicel Foundation a decade ago and which has supported the STETHS, Sports Complex with irrigation water is likely to be the source of water, for the swimming pools. That water will also be used for cricket and football field at the community centre, which is to be rehabilitated and properly fenced, Redman said.

At STETHS, for the immediate future, Wellington is focused on further enhancing the lighting project, which has been funded by manufacturing and distribution company WISYNCO with support from the Sports Development Foundation through the Ministry of Sports. The project, involving ten banks of LED floodlights on five poles, has so far cost about $8 million.

The principal freely concedes that as the situation now stands, there are “dark spots” adversely affecting light quality. The plan is to resolve that situation with underground cables across the field, which will allow the use of removable poles in the vicinity of the cricket pitch outside of the cricket season. Those poles will be removed to facilitate cricket.

A gymnasium was opened at the school earlier this year, and within 12 months Wellington is targeting the installation of proper sightscreens for cricket. Also, underground irrigation is to be extended to bring the 'B' football field at STETHS on par with the 'A' field.

Over the longer term, he envisions the installation of an artificial athletics track at the rear of the school campus.

Wellington expects that with the high cost of the track in particular, the overall cost of sports expansion at STETHS over the next few years will be in the region of $88 million.

He recognises that over time there will also be need for expanded accommodation for spectators at STETHS, but for him that's not a priority right now.

“We are going step by step,” Wellington told the Jamaica Observer Central. “We expect that with the help of the school community, the business community, Government, including our Member of Parliament, in five years, STETHS alongside the Santa Cruz Community Centre will be providing some of the best facilities to be found anywhere in Jamaica,” he said.

— Garfield Myers

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