THE architect in charge of the renovation of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum assured the venue will be finished in time for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Work on the venue is ongoing at a frenetic pace with nearly a month away before the start of the SEA Games, but architect Gerard Lico said the historic venue will be ready in time to host the pep rally for Filipino athletes on November 13.
“The building is about 85 percent complete. We are targeting to finish it before November 12 because this will be the venue for the pep rally. As much as possible, we want to complete the project,” said Lico during a tour of the facility for mediamen.
Built in 1934 and designed by Juan Arellano using the streamline art deco style, the Rizal Coliseum is undergoing its first major renovation since the 1950s, when the stadium suffered damages during World War II.
The Rizal Coliseum was home for several basketball events like the Micaa, UAAP, and the NCAA, and even hosted a few games of the World Basketball Championship, now called the Fiba Basketball World Cup, when the Philippines played host in 1978.
For this year’s SEA Games, the Rizal Coliseum will play host to the gymnastics competitions.
Lico said 285 workers are working in three shifts 24 hours a day in order to complete the renovation.
The renovation not just of the Rizal Coliseum but also around the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex was actually not intended for the SEA Games, but the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) decided to tap with the Philippine Sports Commission-maintained venues to hold some of the events.
While the renovation will be completed before the pep rally, Lico said they will continue to do minor works on the venue before the formal opening of the SEA Games.
“We are committed to complete it by the deadline. Pero babalikan natin ‘yun to ensure that magandang-maganda siya pagdating ng international athletes. It is not only our national pride, it is a natural cultural treasure. The building ang pinaka-focus ng attention ng PSC,” said Lico.
Lico added they have modernized the facilities inside the Rizal Memorial Coliseum with the construction of six state-of-the-art dugouts, and new toilets for both athletes and spectators.
The venue will also be fully-airconditioned for the SEA Games gymnastics competition as well as for the basketball, where the PSC will be installing new maple flooring, goals, and scoreboard.
“Para siyang bagong building [as well as] ‘yung plumbing, electrical, fire protection system and all. Parang ‘yung shell lang talaga ‘yung may historical significance ‘yung sine-safeguard natin to be protected,” said Lico.