A new four-lane track is now under construction at the Bodden Town Primary School.
Hopes are high it will benefit a wide cross-section of the community, from young children to retirees residing in Bodden Town, as well as the eastern districts.
Work by the Public Works Department and Island Paving, which was selected after a tendering process, has already begun on constructing and surfacing the track.
It is anticipated that the approximately 400 meter (1,312 feet) track will not only boost the school’s own track program, but that it will be used to supplement district track meets held by the Cayman Islands Athletic Association.
With track and field being one of the Cayman Islands’ focus areas, Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden said he believes the facility will serve as an effective tool to get more children involved in the sport, as well as contributing to the general development of the national athletics program.
“The school will benefit greatly,” said Mr. Bodden.
“The young students will be able to be trained properly on a track, and hopefully get better results on sports days.”
The track is also expected to benefit recreational walkers in the community and provide a safe and convenient place for residents to work out.
Mr. Bodden noted that the field has always been a popular place for the community to get some exercise, and efforts to keep the site serviceable are nothing new.
In fact, it’s been an ongoing labor of love that has forged some strong community bonds over the years, the minister pointed out.
“The Bodden Town Primary School field has always been a community field, and back in my football playing days we took ‘ownership,’ as it were, of it,” said Mr. Bodden.
“The Bodden Town Football Club, led by David Powell from the club and of blessed memory, resoiled the field, grassed it and installed the lights that are still there.”
Mr. Bodden said that, aside from being used as a playing field, the site has always been a popular walking and running venue for residents who come in the mornings and evenings to go around the perimeter for their exercise.
“From first-hand knowledge, I’m aware of the roots and holes on the ground that cause great discomfort to those of us who use it at times,” he said.
“As sports minister, one of my goals has been to provide a track so that students and local residents can exercise properly at the sports field,” he added.
Mr. Bodden said that while for now the track will be surfaced with asphalt, in the future he has plans for a track covering to be added to provide an even better surface.
Mr. Bodden said the cost of the track is about $60,000.
“But I consider that to be not too expensive considering the benefits to come,” he said. “Indeed, it’s a real win-win for the school and the community.”
Director of Sports Collin Anglin also expressed his pleasure at the progress of the project.
“The more we all exercise on a regular basis, the better our health and quality of life will be – while reducing the costs of healthcare,” he said.
Mr. Bodden says he is looking forward to the many benefits of the new track.
“I am sure this will be a great asset to the community going forward and those who use it are truly excited,” he said.
“I’m sure it will encourage others to get outside and stay fit. Fitness leads to better health, and [a] healthy community is always to be desired.”
The track is scheduled to be completed at the end of this month.