Woman is Project Co-ordinator at Arnos Vale Sporting Facility
The refurbished Arnos Vale Sporting Facility. (Inset) Architectural Engineer, Deirdre Millington-Myers, Project Co-ordinator of the Arnos Vale Sporting Facility.
Front Page
June 7, 2024

Woman is Project Co-ordinator at Arnos Vale Sporting Facility

Come June 13, 2024, St Vincent and the Grenadines will be on show to an estimated two billion spectators when it hosts its first game of the ICC Men’s T/20 World Cup Tournament . There is great expectation among large segments of the population, but maybe none moreso than the team that has been working steadily over the past few months to transform the Arnos Vale Playing Field into a venue fully fit for international exposure.

Architectural Engineer, Deirdre Millington-Myers leads the team of workers as Project Co-ordinator, contracted by the Government as the Consultant Engineer to lick the venue into shape. The work, which began even before the news last October that St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), had won approval to host five matches, simply stepped up a few notches. She spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday at the Arnos Vale venue which is sometimes now referred to as the Arnos Vale Stadium, and explained that the scope of works was done in segments.

“Initially we started on what we call the structural improvement part of the project,” which covered all the steel works and structural work. “Because we are so close to the sea you had over the years, a high level of corrosion, so we basically gutted what was not good repaired/replaced all those faulty part.” That was followed by the Cosmetic Improvement Phase “and that took care of painting, seating, general wash room upgrade, concession stand, and in the case of buildings- like the players pavilion and the president’s suite, basically fixing the things on the inside.”

There were some work that is particular to World Cup Cricket, Millington-Myers explained. When the ICC did their initial inspection they determined that the venue needed certain upgrades it was necessary “to come up to speed with what is now international standards”.

This required enlarging the dining areas to cater for larger contingents travelling with the teams; improvement to shower facilities; and upgrading and increasing things like ice baths.
Two other big additions are the introduction of the electronic score board and lights to facilitate night cricket.

“ We can’t host international cricket tournaments now if we don’t have electronic score boards because that is the way things are going now,”the quiet spoken Consultant Engineer pointed out. Such lighting was not possible while the E.T Joshua Airport was in operation.

Six towers, each 45 meters tall have been installed, and a final testing and sign off is planned for this weekend.

Power will be provided by generators as well as from the St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC).

“For the tournament you have to carry both, but on match day the park will be run by generator power and Vinlec’s power then becomes a standby.”

Major work also had to be done on the field itself which had become contaminated with unsuited grass, so “we had to go back to the Bermuda type of grass which is what is required for the sport”, Millington-Myers noted.

“It really looks good now,” she observed, adding that it will require ongoing maintenance to ensure it stays in top shape.

“Its now a requirement to have at least six cricket pitches and the technology for constructing the pitches also changed,” the Project Consultant added, so what was previously in place had to be excavated and reconstructed using new technology.A total of 18 new pitches have been constructed, six at the main Arnos Vale venue, six at Arnos Vale 2, and six at the Sion Hill Playing Field which will be used as practice venues.

There have been some setbacks arising from such situations as delayed delivery of goods from places of manufacture such as in the far East “but everything that we need is now on island”, Millington-Myers told SEARCHLIGHT.
The venue was therefore not ready for the May hand over, but the ICC has been on site for the past week and is already dressing the tournament venue, “so we are working together at this point”.

Millington-Myers is full of praise for the work team that is drawn principally from within the Government machinery- Ministry of Works and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning being the principal ones; as well as the Electrical Consultant and ICT Consultant.

One new dimension is the construction of four swimming pools at the area of the Party Stand that is specifically for “spectator experience”.

Millington-Myers explained that each Caribbean venue is doing something specific to make the spectator experience different.

“ St Vincent and the Grenadines decided…we want it to be as Caribbean as we could make it…”, she added.

“There is great excitement around it. We’ve tried to make a beach scene,” but decided on pools, the closest representation, “so we are just enhancing the Caribbean look…and adding to the Caribbean experience”.

On Wednesday, there were still some “ touching up” work being carried out and Millington-Myers, who responds to mail at 2:30 a.m, and whose phone begins to ring these days before 6:00 a.m, is feeling a great sense of accomplishment. With three plus decades working in the construction industry, the Jamaica and Scotland trained professional has a growing sense of satisfaction with the transformation of the Arnos Vale Stadium.

“ When I walk into this facility and I look around and I see things what they were and what they’ve come to, and then when I see people coming into the park and enjoying the game that’s where the satisfaction is.” Millington-Myers has the engineering support of Nerissa Fergus, who has been assigned from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to work on the project.

“We are looking forward with great enthusiasm to the 13th of June when we will unveil our venue to the world in its new form,” Millington-Myers said.

“In 2024, we are saying to the folks, welcome to the Caribbean and welcome to St Vincent and the Grenadines.” The collective chorus is “SVG to the World”.