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Aquatic Centre open to the public

Landscaping, including paving of a parking area for about 280 cars, is transforming the National Sports Centre into something the whole Island can be proud of ahead of the July Island Games, according to the Board of Trustees.

Palm trees have been planted in the parking area and this week work is being carried out on the parking area of the NSC on Roberts Avenue ahead of next month’s National Swimming Championships (June 6-9) and the official opening of the 50-metre Aquatic Centre on June 13.

Yesterday the Trustees announced that the $23.4 million facility was open for use.

The completion of the pool represents the end of the first phase of the National Aquatics Centre project and plans exist for a further 25-metre, six-lane warm-up pool and teaching pool to be built at a late date when funds allow.

When completed Bermuda will be able to host the Carifta swim meet as the pool is FINA certified. There is also a dive platform of various heights up to roughly 40 feet.

“This is basically the same as Admiralty Park but you are not in salt water . . . and there are ladders to get out of the pool,” joked Bernie Asbell, CEO of the National Sports Centre, who expects the Centre will be booked for various functions, including parties and school outings.

“For the FINA certification we had to have it surveyed by a registered surveyor and we’ve done that, and every dimension has been met perfectly,” said Sean Tucker, Chairman of the Trustees, yesterday.

“It is expected that the 25-metre distance, divided by the bulkhead, will be used for the National Swim Championships.

“The dive board also had to meet FINA specifications for the tip of the dive to the water.”

The National Stadium complex has undergone a total transformation over the last 20 years, with the demolition of the old National Stadium pavilion and the Bermuda College and Six-Form Centre buildings.

Built on the old football field was the 400 metre track and behind the grandstand the artificial field hockey pitch. Then there is the cricket field and pavilion which is situated about 18 feet above Frog Lane Field which Devonshire Colts used as their home field up to 1996.

A new substation was built to provide additional power for floodlights (about 24 poles in total) for the four facilities which cater to football, swimming, track and field, hockey and rugby, which sees English club Saracens playing against an International Select in a charity match on Friday night at the north field.

“They told us the old power station was at its max and that’s why we built this one,” said Tucker, pointing to the new power station east of the north field. “This not only feeds the sports centre but CedarBridge, Police Operations and Cedar Park and Devon Lane.

“This is a facility that we should be very proud of. I know the Board is very proud of it, it’s a great facility.”

Absell added: “It has been done with good, forward thinking, an incredible facility. Just take a look at the north field, it is virtually a work of art.”

Tucker noted that in some areas the north field was raised 23 feet above Frog Lane.

“When they were going to hold the cricket World Cup in the West Indies a few years ago, this was one of the sites they looked at,” said Tucker. “The field is engineered to drain perfectly. The day the group came from the West Indies to view the site it was pouring buckets and the field drained perfexctly, no puddles on it.

“And underneath that we are able to store the water and use it again.”

Open for business: Sean Tucker (left) chairman of the Board of Trustees and Bernie Asbel, National Sports Centre CEO stand on the media deck in front of the new 50-metre pool. Behind are some of the qualified lifeguards and a large inflatable obstacle course in the water. The new facility will host its first competitive meet, the National Swimming Championships, from June 6-9.

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Published May 29, 2013 at 9:18 am (Updated May 29, 2013 at 9:17 am)

Aquatic Centre open to the public

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