Former Baguio Rep. Nicasio Aliping, Jr. has nothing against rebuilding the Baguio athletic bowl oval and make it standard.
“Without much ado, I welcome it,” said the former lawmaker who initiated the upgrade of the Baguio athletic bowl during his term from 2014-2016.
Aliping even in fact made it a fun fare when the new tartan tracked oval was opened in 2016 where he invited seasoned runners for a friendly competitions where he even gave rewards after the run.
Long distance and off road runner James Tellias even run in his native attire and got a cash reward from the congressman.
However, after five years, the oval must go as this is three meters short of the standard 400 meters.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that the Baguio athletic bowl’s tartan track may just go as well as the eight inch thick concrete underneath it to give way to an oval that will follow international standards.
Magalong confirmed plans to have the oval excavated and replace it with a rubberized track that is exactly 400 meter long.
Magalong said that in the first place, the oval is three meter short of the international standard that has once prevented Baguio from hosting international athletics meets.
Even national meets cannot be staged at the Baguio athletic bowl, since records are a must.
Magalong said that construction of the tracks, done between 2014 and 2016, have not followed international standard with the length short by three meters, the width also short that the installers of the tartan were forced to use the gutter that may endanger runners using spikes.
“Everything has to go,” Magalong said that the planned PhP50 million renovation of the oval must push through as the 7-hectare sports complex is getting a major facelift including the construction of a PhP391 million five storey youth convergence and sports complex in front of the swimming pool and also an upgraded tennis courts costing PhP120 million.
Magalong said that everything must be redone at the track and the field. Install the proper drainage that will be a spider web like design that will prevent pooling of water at the oval.
Magalong has insisted that if one must do a job, it must be done properly as he said that tartan track must have a lifespan of 15 to 16 years. But in the case of the oval, it took only two years when runners observed deterioration.
“Some of the outer lanes are already bare,” observed former Gintong Alay, University of Baguio athletics coach and athletic director Eduardo Laureano.
The costly grass will also to have to go replaced with one that is actually used in the field, Magalong added. It will be remembered that the grass installed were destroyed when dancers of the Panagebenga street parade contest used it in 2016.
“We must yet source the funds,” said city administrator Bonifacio dela Pena, a soil engineer expert, who earlier informed the city council that both the oval and the swimming pool are short of the international standards.
Dela Pena said that they have consulted with experts on how they could proceed with the planned improvements that will follow international standard or funds used will only go to waste.
“If we do it, we must do it right,” said the former dean of the Saint Louis University School of Engineering and Architecture.
Dela Pena is also hoping that the PhP49 million extension of the big grandstand will be finished next month wherein four floodlight towers will be installed at strategic parts of the oval that will allow trainings even at night.
Meanwhile, Dela Pena said that a pre-bid conference for the PhP391 million sports complex was staged earlier this week with three possible bidders, two from Manila and a local, who signified their interest to undertake the project.
Dela Pena said that they eye bidding this Thursday, August 26.