Work will begin on the restoration of Pompey Museum by the end of March, with work on the adjoining Pompey Square completed by the end of summer, revealed Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard yesterday.
“The Ministry of Public Works has made an assessment to develop a scope of work and is getting ready to do a tender process for the restoration,” Maynard told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
“We expect that by the end of March we will be in the position to award a contract.”
Last December, fire destroyed a portion of the western side of Bay Street, ripping through the temporary straw market, the Pompey Museum, the Old Nassau liquor store building (Seamen’s Chapel) and other structures.
It was the second fire for 2011 to rage on Bay Street.
Work on Pompey Square, a green space next to the museum and the former site of the temporary straw market, coordinated between the government and the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP), was halted as a result of the fire, but yesterday DNP officials said that contractors are preparing to start construction by the end of March.
Currently contractors are working on the civil works and site preparation to prepare for construction of the square, said DNP board member Frank Comito.
The DNP revealed last year that the project to develop the green space would cost $2 million, which includes the redevelopment of Woodes Rodgers Walk.
“With the restoration process of the museum underway, the square’s design is intended to provide for greater access and focus on the museum,” Comito said.
“We are also working very closely with the owners of Seamen’s Chapel to incorporate this historic building into the square concept. Work is expected to be complete on that over the next seven months, with works commencing shortly.”
The Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) has reported that it managed to save 90 percent of the artifacts in the museum.
Dr. Gail Saunders, deputy chairman of the AMMC, told The Nassau Guardian shortly after the fire that she thought all the artifacts were lost in the fire. Maynard said yesterday that although the museum had fire suppression equipment “obviously they have to improve on that”.
“[We have to] make sure we have whatever the latest technology is so we can prevent an all out fire like that in the future,” he said. “But you have to remember, in a historical building there is only so much you can do to protect it.”
The Nassau Guardian
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012