Cayman Rugby will be moving to a new home after the Dart group offered land near Camana Bay on peppercorn lease for a new center which will be capable of hosting international matches.
The new headquarters, south of the National Gallery, will feature two pitches, as well as a clubhouse and parking.
Derek Haines, president of the Cayman Islands Rugby Football Union, said members met last month to discuss the offer from Dart.
He said the sport had “outgrown” the South Sound center, which has been the home of rugby in Grand Cayman for nearly 50 years.
Mr. Haines acknowledged there was a strong “sentimental attachment” to South Sound, but he said the pitch was too small for international rugby and became overused as the sport grew.
“There is a general appreciation from the membership that we need to move,” he said. “We have been offered this land by Dart and it makes sense to do it.
“We are finalizing a letter of agreement with Dart before they can begin clearing the land, then we will submit an application to planning.”
He said architect John Doak and project manager Renee Edwards are also working pro bono on the project.
Even with that support, he believes it will be around three years before the pitches are ready for use.
Describing the donation from Dart as “absolutely huge,” he said it would enable the rugby union, which has about 300 members, to continue to grow. He said other sports associations would also be able to rent the fields, creating a revenue stream for the association.
In a letter to members ahead of a “village hall” meeting on the issue last month, Mr. Haines said a new pitch had been identified as a priority in the union’s strategic plan for the past eight years.
“Cayman Rugby, including touch rugby, has enjoyed a tremendous growth in popularity, membership and success over the past 15 years or so, and the playing area has become overused with no downtime throughout the year,” he said.
“For international tournaments it is desirable, and in the case of sevens, a necessity to have two pitches.”
He said the new center would be ideally situated for the sport to progress.
“The proposed site of the new facility sits between the two largest population centers and, as such, is ideally located in terms of participation growth. The [Rugby] Union has also been creating a relationship with Clifton Hunter school in North Side in order to continue to develop a program capable of servicing the third population area of North Side.”
Chris Duggan, vice president at Dart, said the company would have no ongoing role in Cayman rugby.
“Cayman rugby has grown significantly in recent years and it currently has one of the largest and most effective youth programs on the island,” he said. “The continued development of this program will provide enhanced developmental opportunities for the youth of our islands.
“Dart remains committed to the continued growth and development of the youth of the Cayman Islands, and we will continue to invest in projects that provide these types of youth development opportunities.”
He said the facility would also “attract world-class international teams and competitions to our shores that will not only further enhance the development of Cayman rugby, but will also help to further develop the Cayman Islands as a world-class sporting destination.”