Clark stadium, pools for SEA Games completed by August

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Aerial view of the Athletics Stadium at the New Clark City, designed after the caldera of Mt. Pinatubo

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 14) — Construction of the New Clark City Sports Complex will be completed in two months, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said, well ahead of the country's hosting of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November.

BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio Dizon said round-the-clock construction works for the athletic stadium, aquatic center, and athlete dorms are underway, ahead of regional sporting event which starts Nov. 30.

"We are targeting the completion of this entire facility by the end of August, so that our athletes, by September, can already start training," Dizon told CNN Philippines' The Source.

The Duterte administration has chosen Clark as the face of its planned infrastructure boom.

Dizon said Clark's newest sports facilities are the first of their kind in the country, which also complies with global standards.

For one, the aquatic center will feature an eight-lane training pool and a 10-lane Olympic pool for swimming competitions. Unlike commercial facilities, the new pools being built in Clark come with steel and PVC lining, matching the ones used during the London Olympics in 2012. It also comes with the global FINA certification and can cater to dry diving.

The New Clark City Aquatic Center under construction

The spacious athletics stadium is also close to finished, which will sit right in the middle of the complex. Dizon said all sporting events can be staged here before an audience of up to 20,000 in the bleachers.

Right across is an "athletes' village" which will cater to up to 500 participants during the competitions. The first and second floors are also designed to be wheelchair-friendly, while the dormitories will have their own wade pool, basketball court, gym, and cafeteria.

The Philippines' hosting stint during the Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 SEA Games will be followed by the paralympic games come January. But they are not stopping there.

"In the near future, not only will our athletes have a new home and a world-class facility to train in, but it will also provide the country with the venue for us to maybe bid for and host international sporting events like the Asian Games," Dizon said. "If we want to even dream bigger, maybe the Olympics someday."

The last time the country built a major sports center was in 1934, when the now-aging Rizal Memorial Stadium was erected in Manila.

The state-of-the-art facilities also carry the story of Capas, Tarlac where the vast city sits. Most buildings come with a dark gray lahar finish - a nod to the nearby Mount Pinatubo, Dizon said. Pillars of the stadium are painted a bright orange, meant to mimic local captivating sunsets, while the aquatic center was designed after fishing nets and Capiz windows, he added.

The rest of the property is covered in greenery, with a 1.5-kilometer (km) river park at its heart. Dizon said New Clark City was designed with a 60-40 balance, with nature taking the greater share.

Two towering buildings have also been fully leased as satellite offices of government agencies based in Metro Manila, which are meant to serve as backup facilities should the "Big One" strike. Dizon said the new city is earthquake-resilient, with the nearest fault line about 20 km away.

New Clark City will also provide the "cheapest" electricity in the country, which Dizon said would bode well for new investors. They expect factories to be the first migrants to Clark before commercial and residential spaces spring up.

"Maybe 10 years from now, that's when you start seeing more private residential, more commercial establishments... But I think at the rate this is going and with the connectivity to the airport, it's gonna grow faster than we think," Dizon said.

A Manila-Clark railway is set to run daily trips by 2025, which Dizon said will slash a one-way trip to less than an hour. All are part of the government's "Build, Build, Build" program, with the complex being built by the AlloyMTD Group backed by a Malaysian firm.