The countdown to the Saskatchewan Winter Games in the Battlefords continues to get smaller and smaller, as they are now less than two weeks away, and the Winter Games committee said they are happy with how preparations have went.
Perhaps the most positive news is the committee has met and exceeded their fundraising goal of $700,000.
"The Battlefords business community has stepped up in an incredible way," Winter Games co-chair Rob Rongve said on Tuesday morning. "We've exceeded that [goal] by quite a considerable sum, which is good because we've had to approve some overages as far as costs that have come up that the sport groups or venues weren't aware of inititially."
Overall, Rongve couldn't be more happy with where everything is at in terms of preparation.
"All committees are firing on all cylinders," he said. "The big work effort will definitely be at [North Battleford Comprehensive] High School, as we convert it from the high school to the athlete's village. So Friday, Saturday, just before the games start will be a huge hub of activity getting all the 900 bunk beds and everything set up."
With 1,800 athletes set to take part in the games, the schedule has been essentially split in half, as 900 athletes will stay at the Comp from Sunday, Feb. 18 until Wed. Feb. 21, when the next 900 will arrive and take their place for the remainder of the games. Northwest College has also opened their doors to allow for any spill-over.
Because of the schedule, the 'changeover' day Wednesday will be extremely busy.
"I'm sure with the great people we've lined up, things should go very smoothly," Rongve said. "We need lots of human resources at the Comp that day, to help us facilitate all that... Each sport has an assigned venue chair and sport chair, so those people are all in charge... and the sport requirements will all be looked after, I'm assuming, without a hitch."
Venue changeover is another big task.
Places like the Fieldhouse - which will have to take out the turf to set up for gymnastics - and the Civic Centre will take considerable manpower for set-up and tear-down in a short amount of time.
"The [Civic Centre] will be completely changed over the evening of the 18th to allow for the hockey tournament to begin first thing in the morning and then the same thing happens at the end of the week. We have to convert it back for the closing ceremonies," Rongve said. "Everything is in order. I think the schedules are all put out."
One thing that remains constant from the committee is their call for help in the kitchen.
"We definitely need a lot of help in the kitchen," Rongve said. "We're going to have almost 2,000 people over the course of the week to be fed."
Right from the start, the goal from the Games Committee was to make 2018 the best games ever, which is something Rongve is confident will happen.
He said that's much in part thanks to the community for raising the necessary funds.
"All the cash is in place," he said. "We can now provide the best experience for all the athletes that are coming from around the province. We're able to do lots of extras and make sure that their comfort and care and their security is looked after 150 per cent, which is our goal."
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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