Government is planning to build a number of new football fields and playfields at primary schools throughout Grand Cayman.

According to a request for proposals from the Ministry of Education, the plans include building new artificial football fields at Red Bay Primary School, Bodden Town Primary School and Prospect Primary School. Additionally, the plans entail building artificial playfields at Spot Bay Primary School in Cayman Brac and East End Primary School.

The work will include removing the existing grass and topsoil from the existing fields and replacing them with artificial turf laid on a four-inch bed of crushed stone.

Documents about the projects suggest that the main difference between the football and playfields is size: the football fields are 250 feet long by 150 feet wide and the playfields are around 150 feet long by 80 feet wide.

The education ministry’s plans to build playfields comes on the heels of North Siders building their own artificial field for the primary school there in October – a project that had been in the works for four years, according to North Side MLA Ezzard Miller.

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Mr. Miller said one district resident paid $20,000 of his personal funds to purchase artificial turf from Chicago and ship it down to Grand Cayman for use on the playfield.

Mr. Miller had tried to get government to redo the facility and eliminate the uneven surface, which was often unusable after rain because of drainage problems.

However, the Ministry of Education stated that the plan to put turf on what was then a rocky, flood-prone field was not funded within the current 2018-2019 budget cycle, and would require some extensive remediation works on site.

Mr. Miller said at a PTA meeting in August that government wanted to put the project off until 2019.

Instead, “We [North Siders] came up with a proposal to do it ourselves,” he said at the meeting.

Leader of the Opposition Ezzard Miller

In October, work on the North Side field began, with seven men putting in a full day’s work with no pay except for a “thank you.” Donovan Ebanks, retired deputy governor and a former chief engineer with the Public Works Department, served as the “project consultant,” and other work was done by Apec Consulting Engineers, KP’s Heavy Equipment, and a number of volunteers.

Mr. Miller told the Cayman Compass on Monday that the turf has been laid out but is not completely installed because government is building a track around the perimeter. All work should be finalized by the end of February, he said.

The opposition leader added that it was frustrating that government was not able to install his district’s field, but he is glad his public advocacy may have contributed to other fields being planned, too.

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