Work on the Paul E. Joseph Stadium and Sports Complex Project in Frederiksted will restart Monday, Gov. Kenneth Mapp announced in a Government House news release.
The stadium project includes razing the current stadium and replacing it with a sports complex that officials hope will draw tourists to events from across the region. The plan has been under discussion since 2005. Then-Gov. John deJongh Jr. signed a contract with General Engineering Corporation for the $20 million project in November 2014.
DeJongh said the project could pump $58 million into the St. Croix economy.
The Mapp administration issued a stop-work order in February. Mapp said he halted the project because the previous administration put together plans for the renovation "in haste,” contending that the plan would build a $10 million stadium for $20 million.
The governor said after months of negotiations, agreement was reached on a workable “change order,” resulting in a “notice to proceed” for the project’s contractor, GEC.
Government House’s Saturday news release did not outline any way in which the original contract had been amended or what changes were made.
The notice to proceed allows GEC to finish the already initiated demolition of the old stadium beginning Monday. According to the “change order,” both demolition and 60 percent of the design are to be completed within 120 days of this date.
The contract value awarded to GEC remains unchanged, not to exceed $20,000,000, with finalized budgets and schedules at each design phase.
“We anticipate three major phases, the Paul E. Joseph Stadium with Triple A baseball dimensions, the Terrence Martin regulation Softball Park/Little League field and the Crucian Christmas Festival Village," said John Wessel of GEC. "A possible fourth phase would be overall site improvements including the development of a canal for flood control. First comes demolition simultaneously with design, then elevating the property five to eight feet in accordance with future flood projections, followed by construction of each facility and associated site improvements."
Wessel said GEC will use Virgin Islands workers and professionals and subcontracting portions of the work, "in compliance with our company motto ‘Building the Virgin Islands with Virgin Islanders.’"
The project’s engineer, Department of Public Works Commissioner Gustav James, said the government anticipates about 200 jobs will be created at the peak of construction. He said the contract still includes the services of world famous athletic facilities architectural firm, Populous.
According to the Government House news release, the Paul E. Joseph Stadium and Sports Complex will open the door for major sports and concert events, such as Major League Baseball exhibition games such as one played by the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in 1967.
Department of Sports, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Pedro Cruz stated, “When this project is finished the VI, and specifically my island of St. Croix, will be capable of attracting both professional and college teams for practices, games and tournaments. This will be the realization of the sports tourism concept that has only been talked about before.”
Mapp called the stadium project the beginning of the total revitalization of of Frederiksted.