Lawson Tama Stadium, the iconic football ground in Honiara, has taken another step towards its planned facelift ahead of the 2023 Pacific Games.

This week, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) signed a contract with leading architectural and engineering firm Kramer Ausenco for the development of the design for the stadium’s upgrade project.

Kramer Ausenco was selected following a regional tender consisting of four bidders from Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomons, which concluded in February.

The assessments were done by an independent committee appointed by SIFF to manage the project and they placed Kramer Ausenco as the top choice.

The contract, valued at approximately NZD$707,000, will see Kramer Ausenco design a 6000-8000 capacity stadium in two phases.

The first phase shall consist of the first stand, dressing rooms, and the playing field plus supporting fixtures. The second phase of the design will incorporate the second stand.

Following the completion of the designs for phase one, a tender will be run for the contractor later this year.

The construction, similar to the designs, will also be executed in stages with phase one likely to start in 2021 and the second stage thereafter.

FIFA has provided USD$277,679 (NZD$426,785) towards the design phase of the project and will eventually contribute a further USD$4 million (NZD$6,147,900) towards the project.

SIFF was grateful for the funding from FIFA and was pleased to work in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government and Honiara City Council on the project.

SIFF President William Lai thanked FIFA and other stakeholders who continued to work hard behind the scenes to help get the project up and running.

“Today we are here to sign the contract, but this project has gone through tough times up to this day,” he said.

“I want to thank the FIFA president and FIFA officials in the region for supporting us with this project.

“Also, I would like to acknowledge the national government and Honiara City Council for their input as this signing is just a starting point for the upgrade of Lawson Tama.”

Kramer Ausenco Country Manager, Daniel Taka, said they were keen to get started after a lengthy bidding process.

“It’s been a long negotiation process, but we are happy to receive this project,” he said.

“We are grateful for SIFF’s trust in Kramer Ausenco since we’ve been operating here for a while and we feel that we have the best knowledge of the ground.

“We are looking forward to delivering this project and we understand the impact it has on sports in the Solomon Islands and it will be a landmark project for the institution SIFF.”