ISSA secures new $50 million HQ

first_imgThe Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has acquired a property valued at more than $50 million, along Red Hills Road in St Andrew, which will house its new headquarters and conference facilities. The property, which is located directly across from Calabar High School’s main entrance, is currently being retrofitted to feature office spaces, with an official opening expected to be held after the staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the end of next month. It will replace ISSA’s current base, which is located a stone’s throw away at 21 Lindsay Crescent in St Andrew and represents the realisation of one of outgoing president, Dr Walton Small’s stated ambitions, which were outlined when he first took office in 2007. Small had also stated his intention to lead the development of an ISSA-owned multi-purpose sporting facility. He, however, hopes this will be pursued by future administrations while noting that it was not prudent, from a financial perspective, to do so up to this point. “When you go into an organisation, you will go with a plan or programme, but sometimes when you get in there and the reality strikes, you realise you might have to adjust these plans,” Small said. “But we have bought our building. We have outgrown the space at Lindsay Crescent. We have bought a new building, and right now, we are retrofitting that building,” he stated. Small will be retiring from his role as principal of Wolmer’s Boys School in August this year and will, as a result, be stepping away from his ISSA role when the term expires in June. He told The Gleaner during a recent sit-down that the facility will not only significantly lower ISSA’s spend on venue rental for meetings, and so on, but will allow them to better serve their stakeholders. “This location is ideal, we have good parking and we will also be going on top. We will sell the building that we are in now (Lindsay Crescent office) and will use those funds to develop a conference area upstairs. We spend a lot of money in that area right now. Whenever we have anything, we spend a lot of money at hotels, and if we can build a conference centre, that can house all the principals, and so on. Then we will save significant funds,” said Small. In addition to office spaces along with conference and dining facilities, the new ISSA headquarters will also feature accommodation, which can be used by rural-based students or principals, who have related business in Kingston. Multipurpose facility Small noted that the association had examined the possibility of securing lands in Portmore, St Catherine for the development of a multipurpose facility, which would be used to host some of its events. They, however, decided against this to ensure that ISSA remained on solid financial footing. “The issue is that we looked at a space over by Portmore, and I know that there are some plans to have a stadium developed, and there were talks of acquiring some lands, but when we approached the Government, it would have had to be in a partnership. When we looked at the pros and cons, we decided it would be best not to because we would want to have somewhere for ourselves,” Small said. “The aspect of the multipurpose facility has been put on hold because we want to make sure that the building is there and you understand what is happening with the economic situation right now,” he added. When asked how the new property was funded, Small, declined to give details but noted that the organisation did not have any debts on the venue. “One of the things I have indicated from the onset is that we must pay all our bills we must do everything in our power not to mortgage anything that we have. So one thing I am comfortable with is that I will not leave ISSA in any debt,” Small said. [email protected]last_img