Sport

JC's Ashenheim Stadium to open its door to outside use

Saturday, February 23, 2019

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Jamaica College always prides itself on being number one.

The school may not be the first school to lay a synthetic track on its grounds, but they can now boast that they are the first high school in Jamaica to have its own stadium.

But while the first class Ashenheim Stadium is domiciled at the 229-year-old Old Hope Road institution, Ian Forbes, a member of the project committee, hinted at the possibility of opening their doors to facilitate other institutions and possibly sporting associations.

The facility, which was constructed earlier this year, boasts an eight-lane 400m synthetic track, an international-standard football field similar to that at the National Stadium, as well as an initial seating capacity of approximately 2,000 — with plans of a possible upgrade to 5,000.

According to Forbes, the stadium also boasts state-of-the-art lighting, perfect for hosting night-time events.

“It is still somewhat surreal. It started as a dream and we worked towards this occasion, and we are very thankful to the Ashenheim family — the major benefactors — who ensured that this became a reality. It is a first class facility of a 400m, eight-lane synthetic track, football field, adequate parking, and the lighting is really special.

“These lights; are computerised LED lights, there is no glare trespass, which means it doesn't interfere with communities around and no light will be shining in anyone's living room. It is contained, as each bulb has a specific spot that it focuses on in the facility,” Forbes told reporters during the official opening ceremony at Jamaica College on Wednesday.

“So it's a very wonderful first class, state-of-the-art facility and it is something that we have to protect in terms of ensuring that we maintain it,” he added.

The Ashenheim family were the primary contributors of the project, which paved the way for Jamaica College to be the third all-boys school to install synthetic tracks on their school grounds. Calabar High School and Kingston College were the first.

Three generations of the Ashenheim family attended Jamaica College, which has won the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Championships 21 times and the Manning Cup 29 times..

Forbes, who is also the manager of the Manning Cup team, pointed out that the facility will not only earn revenue for the school, but will also enhance the school's respective sporting disciplines.

“All the other disciplines will have access to this facility — all the field sports and of course track and field. It will enhance it (sports) tremendously. In the past, particularly for track and field, we had to go to other venues to borrow synthetic surface.

“So now that this is here it will make a huge difference. Of course it will also be here for football and the field has a sprinkler system as well, so we are pretty confident that it will be properly maintained and it will be first-class quality surface as well that will also minimise injuries, so we are very thankful,” Forbes reasoned.

“It is here at Jamaica College, but in terms of our corporate social responsibility outreach, I think, and I will whisper that as well, and I think I will get the support to have other schools that don't necessarily have the resources to be able to have access to use this facility,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts, while lauding Jamaica College on the initiative, revealed that discussions are already under way to possibly utilise the field.

“In fact, I just had word with the KSAFA president [Wayne Shaw] and he says that he has actually started having discussions with the relevant authorities to use this field. So it will be very interesting to see how good the lights are because certainly the national programme could very well benefit from this facility,” Ricketts declared.

– Sherdon Cowan


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