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Baguio adds P9-M for athletic bowl upgrade

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BAGUIO CITY — An additional PHP9 million has been released by the city government for the rehabilitation works to upgrade and develop two facilities within the Baguio Athletic Bowl.

The amount will be added to the PHP34-million fund to complete the rehabilitation of the 15-year old swimming pool, bringing the total rehabilitation cost of the sports facility to PHP56 million, said Paul Rillorta of the city sports office.

“We can see now the completion of rehab works that will include the replacement of the dilapidated roofing, installation of solar panels for the heater of the two pools, the installation of touch pads at both end of the pool, electronic score boards and diving boards,” Rillorta said.

Rehabilitation works included adding depth to the pool, which was originally at one meter, to accommodate diving events in the future.

Rillorta said that the tiles have been replaced and the Olympic-size pool ready to have its touch pad installed to comply with international standards once works are finished.

This mountain city finally got what it wished for in 1998 when then President Fidel V. Ramos approved funds for the construction of an Olympic-sized pool.

But it was only completed in 2004, six years after it was started that it even lacked the required length by millimeters, preventing the installation of touch pads required to make swimming records official. The drainage was also problem since the system was too small for a pool of that size.

Aside from the pool, the other works included the conversion of the open space in front of the pool for an open court to accommodate games of basketball, volleyball, “sepak takraw” or allied sports as well as beach volleyball.

The athletic bowl is part of the Burnham Park complex that used to be a swampland when the Americans arrived in the city in the early 1900s.

“We expect to see its completion anytime soon,” said city sports coordinator Gaudencio Gonzales, who holds office under the big grandstand which was upgraded in 2015.

The three-phase Baguio athletic bowl project in 2015 saw the conversion of the dirt track into tartan that finally saw Baguio hosting the Batang Pinoy national finals last year.

Last year, Baguio lost the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa to Vigan. But local officials, like Gonzales, are still hoping that Baguio will be a host in the future.