Oleai field improvement begins

A heavy equipment operator uses a loader to work at the center field of the Oleai Sports Complex yesterday. (Jon Perez)

Improvement projects at the center field of the Oleai Sports Complex began yesterday with the removal of the grass before personnel of the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort completes the ground work in time for Saipan’s hosting of the Micronesian Athletics Championships this year.

A heavy equipment operator was seen using a loader in clearing the grass, which was collected at the side of the Oleai field as Northern Marianas Sports Association personnel would filter it to separate the dirt.

“We’re going to use a sifter to remove the dirt, which we can still use again by laying it on the field,” said NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi, who has been overseeing the daily upkeep and operations of the sports facilities inside the sports complex.

“So when Laolao employees come in they would only level the ground before laying down the new grass. It is just a matter of scheduling with them. We expect work on the field to finish soon,” the NMSA official added.

The removal of the grass is set for today, while separating the dirt from the pile could last a few more days.

A tiller machine loaned by Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony T. Benavente was used to soften up the field and break up the old grass. Laolao, on the other hand, has volunteered to improve the field and replace the grass to minimize injuries while playing or practicing at the facility.

“We [NMSA] are thankful for the help by DLNR through Sec. [Tony] Benavente and the management of Laolao Bay Golf & Resort. We also wanted to thank the community for their patience and understanding as we try to complete the repairs and other improvements on the track facility,” said Rogolifoi.

He added that repair work and other renovations at the sports complex are expected to be done in April, the latest.

“Right now they are already working on a request for proposal. Renovation will start once we are done with that and when the project is awarded to a contractor,” Rogolifoi said.

Sonia Dancoe will be overseeing the project and last month she made an ocular inspection of the facilities damaged by Typhoon Soudelor and others that need improvement.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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