Fiji’s Prime Minister Officially Opens Renovated Vodafone Arena
With the official re-opening of the Vodafone Arena on Friday 8th November by Fiji’s Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, the Fiji Sports Council (FSC) will introduce another facility that expands its inventory to include an additional court of international standards for volleyball and netball and an additional covered area for badminton, gymnastics, karate and judo.
The courts will also be available for regional and international competitions such as the Oceania Championships, which featured futsal, volleyball, weightlifting, taekwondo and basketball in the Arena prior to its closing in 2018 for the renovation work.
The opening was celebrated with games of netball, basketball, and badminton being played for the first time on the new, world-class courts as arranged by respective clubs and also a demonstration Fiji U12 game organised by national sporting organisation Basketball Fiji.
“By putting ourselves in the position to host regional and international sporting events, we’re giving friends the excuse they’ve been waiting for to get on a plane and visit [Fiji] and bring with them their families and their friends. Whether it’s karate, judo, badminton, table tennis, weightlifting, volleyball, netball or gymnastics, the competition that will [be played] in this arena will attract fans and athletes from across Fiji, the region, and the wider world,” Hon. Bainimarama said.
FSC CEO Mrs Litiana Loabuka said, “In order to continue to provide sporting facilities that are of world class standard, the Fiji Sports Council has to continuously ensure a consistent maintenance process and adherence to its usage policies. So, with this new extension comes the responsibility of maintaining it as well.”
The extension is comprised of one full-sized netball court of 907 square metres, on the side nearest the Damodar City Aquatic Centre, and a 571 square metre court, on the ticket booth side of the Vodafone arena. This adds another 1,478 square meters to the original 2,042 square metre Vodafone Arena.
As well as the permanent seating for 2,350 patrons, new retractable bleachers cater for an additional 834 spectators and additional seating area for more than 3,000 people with the original and extended floor area combined.
The renovation includes new wooden flooring, bigger screens that are operational and energy efficient lighting systems. Additionally, the arena has new sound and ventilation systems compliant with seismic and fire requirements.
“To ensure the longevity of the Sports Council’s properties, we have a property management team. We spend about $350,000 a quarter on maintenance, which is a considerable amount, but it is still a long way from the 10 percent of the asset value that should actually be spent on maintenance,” said Mrs Loabuka.
The Vodafone Arena was first built in 2003 and gifted to Fiji by the People’s Republic of China. The renovation and extension of the Fiji Sports Council Vodafone Arena began in February 2018 and the project was carried out by Contractor, Yanjiann Limited and the Project manager was HLKJ with Temo Consultants as the Service Consultants. Initially scheduled to open in February this year, a shortage of building materials of a suitable standard delayed completion.