Schools to become temporary hotels
Summer Games accomodations enter final stages of preparation
With 1,350 athletes and coaches just about ready to descend on the towns of Harbour Grace and Carbonear mext week for the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games, you’d think Genevieve Babb would appear to be worried.
But, the head of the Games committee in charge of the logistics of athlete accommodations, Babb did not appear to be daunted by the task when she spoke with The Compass last week in the gymnasium at St. Francis.
“We are in final preparations now,” she said.
Babb and the people she has on the committee are in the process of filling the classrooms of St. Francis school in Harbour Grace and Carbonear Collegiate with athletes.
The female athletes will be housed at St. Francis, while the male contingent will be bed down at Carbonear Collegiate.
“We will be running both schools as if they were a hotel,” said Babb of the check-in process.
Teams for events in the first three days are expected to start arriving in Harbour Grace around noon time Saturday, Aug. 18, when they will be proceeding to Harbour Grace Primary to checkin. The primary school next to St. Francis will take the form of command central over the course of the week.
After the check-in process, the female athletes will make the short stroll across the parking lot, while their male counterparts will head to Carbonear.
“We’ll have quite a house full of people,” said Babb.
Each player is required to have 39 square feet of personal space to call home for a couple of days, as per provincial regulation.
Due to athletes being in the schools, Babb said the classrooms where players will be staying needed to be retrofitted with carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
“The fire chiefs from both towns will be doing inspections of the schools,” she said.
When it comes time for the athletes to eat, Babb said it would be done in stages.
“For breakfast, athletes will eat in three different stages,” she said. “It will be the same in the evening.”
For lunch, Subway is providing sandwiches for every participant to be served at the various venues. Challenges Aside from retrofitting each classroom to ensure the athlete’s safety while they are sleeping, one of the major challenges the committee has been facing is ensuring round the clock chaperones for the athletes.
She said some 140 volunteers would be required to help with those roles.
“We see our role as trying to help facilitate a smooth running of the Games,” she said. “Keeping in mind these teams will be travelling, training, staying up late, they’ll be up out of their beds, sleeping on floors and lining up for showers.”
Showers could pose a particular problem for organizers.
Babb figures athletes will need to stagger their shower times in order to maximize the amount of hot water available to them.
“We have asked athletes who are playing sports in venues where there are showers to use those showers before returning to the schools for the evening,” she said.
Babb praised the schools and the Eastern School District for helping make the transition between classroom to residence run smoothly.
“They were so great at making sure the schools were prepared, so we could go in and start our work,” she said.
To help the group get ready to welcome the athletes, Babb said they studied plans from the Grand Falls-Windsor winter games in 2010.
Also, with the advent of the cell phone, as well as recent trends like Facebook and Twitter, organizers are weary of how athletes take advantage of this technology.
“We’ve had to take a serious look at that with legalities and picture
We see our role as trying to help facilitate a smooth running of the Games.
— Genevieve Babb
taking,” said Babb. “Athletes have signed off on their responsibility for their conduct and behaviour, including picture taking and where they post them for these Games.”
When the Games start, Babb said there are sure to be issues that come up that were overlooked.
“I’ll be happy at the end if the Games have been successful,” she said. nmercer@cbncom
Andrew Roul makes his tiddly, playing for the Lonely Tree Tribe in a match against the Valley Pikes during the World Cup of Tiddly played on the lower softball pitch at the Carbonear Recreation Complex, Sunday. Aug. 5