Barbados Island Treasure Under Renovation

Barbados Island Treasure Under Renovation

A Barbados treasure is being renovated to create an environmentally designed conference and banqueting centre

In the historic garrison area of Barbados one of the island's national treasures is under renovation. Built in 1806 as the Purveyor's quarters of the General Hospital for the British Army, The Pavilion is part of the second oldest military garrison in the western hemisphere.

It was destroyed by fire in the 1980s and was derelict for twenty years. The work aims to retain the coral stone building's original features while transforming it into a state-of-the-art, environmentally-designed conference centre and function venue, with fine-dining restaurant and colonial-style bar.

The multi-million dollar project is the brainchild of James Blades, Chief Executive Officer of The Coconut Court Beach Resort, located opposite The Pavilion. His vision is to redevelop the building, paying close attention to environmental conservation and heritage issues. "As a father and someone who has worked in tourism for many years, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to create something lasting and sustainable for generations to come, which is also going to have a positive impact on the people of Barbados" he said.

The project closely follows the United Nations Environmental Programme's blueprint for Environmentally Sound Tourism Facility Design and Development It is also being developed to meet Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Globe standards.

The facility will incorporate satellite conferencing, state-of-the-art audio-visual and simultaneous translation equipment. The six independent conference rooms will also convert into one larger venue with a capacity of up to 300 delegates.

Climate control for each room will be centrally computer-controlled and occupancy sensors will automatically adjust ventilation demands in all rooms.

All windows will be double-glazed and a radiant barrier will insulate the roof, with eve and roof air vents installed to maximise energy efficiency. Cooling will be via an air-cooled chilled-water system using heat recovery to heat all the water for the building. The water will be moved between the building and the compressors (sited in the car park to reduce noise pollution) via underground insulated piping.

The entire building will be plumbed for the separation of sewerage and grey water and all the men's washrooms will have waterless urinals. All toilets at The Pavilion will be flushed by rain-water. An ultra-violet (UV) system will sterilise rainwater collected from the roof for use in landscape irrigation, with the long-term aim of using this process for other requirements.

A pilot project is being carried out to determine the viability of treating rainwater for potable use, such as washing dishes in the rainy season, when there is more water than required for irrigation. By gathering performance data James Blades hopes to lead a change in the Barbados Water Authority's current policy regarding the use of rainwater.

The four-acre site is home to a number of relatively rare trees, including Black Willows and a Baobab, which is among only a handful to be found anywhere on the island. Extreme care is being exercised to prevent root damage to any of the species on the site during construction.

Grant funding is being sought for the introduction of an organic farming programme. The produce would be used in the Pavilion and at Coconut Court Beach Resort, and could also be sold at affordable prices to local people. The entire establishment's organic waste will be composted and reused as fertiliser in the gardens.

The Barbados Pavilion is scheduled to open in October. It is the first phase in a GB £18 million (US$28 million) redevelopment programme that will include new hotel suites and upgrading existing facilities at Coconut Court Beach Hotel over the next four years.

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