The Northern Marianas Sports Association has identified four priority projects at the Oleai Sports Complex as part of its continued efforts to improve the main sports facility in the Commonwealth.
NMSA executive director Carline Sablan, during the group’s meeting last week at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, said that there’s a long list of repair and renovation work needed at the complex, but they will initially be focusing on four areas as they required immediate attention.
First on the schedule is the roofing at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium as it has been leaking since Saipan was struck by Super Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 and its condition turned from bad to worse when another strong storm (Super Typhoon Yutu) hammered the islands three years later. The leaking roof even forced NMSA to remove the floor tiles at the Ada Gym, as they have been peeled off and many have formed bubbles, making it unsafe for use.
NMSA has also identified the lighting fixtures at the track and field oval and the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield as a priority along with turning the Ada Gym into an airconditioned facility and purchasing a generator for the complex’s adjacent offices and other facilities.
Sablan said that the money that will be used for these priority projects will come from the $3.1-million typhoon recovery funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She added that NMSA is coordinating with Patrick Guerrero of CNMI Public Assistance Office for assessment on these improvement work to determine the costs of each undertaking and the process involved to move forward with the projects.
Meanwhile, though the Olea Sports Complex is closed for competition and other activities (only the track oval is open for runners/walkers and other small group activities), NMSA through the help of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs have been sprucing up the facilities and offices.
The weight room has been cleared, cleaned, and repainted, while lights outside the Gilbert C. Ada Gym and its adjacent rooms have been fixed along with the broken windows at the NMSA offices.
More improvement work will be done at the Oleai Sports Complex in the next two years, as the CNMI prepares for the hosting of the Pacific Mini Games, which will run from June 17 to 25 in 2022.
Six sports have been approved for the Mini Games program, including athletics and baseball that will have their respective competitions at the track oval and “Tan Ko” Ballfield. Badminton, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon are the four other sports initially approved for the regional meet, but NMSA has appealed to the Pacific Games Council to consider adding tennis and weightlifting to the list.