Work on the construction of the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre at North Parade, downtown Kingston, will be completed this fiscal year.
This will be done under the Development of Sports and Recreational Facilities project for which a sum of $88 million has been allocated in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure currently before the House of Representatives. Work on the structure is already 72 per cent complete.
The cultural centre pays tribute to the Venezuelan liberator and National Hero, who resided in Jamaica in 1815.
The facility, on completion, will house an interpretive museum, library, administrative block, an exhibit hall and a 350-seater multi-cultural centre. It is expected to build on the Bolivarian concept of cultural enlightenment offering opportunities for young children to be exposed to the cultural and performing arts. In addition, it is expected to contribute to the economic development of the city, by providing jobs for teachers and students of the arts.
The Development of Sports and Recreational Facilities project is being undertaken by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), through support from the Venezuelan Investment Fund (BANDES).
It aims to expand and develop existing and new cultural and sports amenities; enhance the blossoming of creative talent; promote a cultural fraternity in the Caribbean; stimulate and deepen cultural exchanges with countries in the region; design training programmes; and develop human resources.
Under the project, the Government also intends to, overtime, restore the old courthouse in Montego Bay; construct a library and audiovisual centre at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (Cultural Training Centre); refurbish the swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts at G.C Foster College; and upgrade Independence Park in Kingston, the Montego Bay Sports Complex in St. James, and the Frome Sports Complex in Westmoreland.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter