Press Release - An excellent opportunity has come along for the Marco Gonzalez Project - the designing of a Visitor/Educational Center by the 2013 graduate students at the University of Puerto Rico/School of Architecture. Nine students have been chosen by their Grad Program Coordinator Ms. Anna Georas to undertake this design work as their final assignment before being able to graduate. These students may need an excellent grade to compliment work towards their Masters Degree or thesis for future Doctorate work. Whatever level of study is involved, they will put heart and soul into this work to achieve their level of excellence for future employment as well.
This opportunity came about quite by surprise. Let me explain, please. Some of you in San Pedro in 2011 and 2012 had the pleasure to have one of BTB’s “Road Warriors” visit your business, experience what you had to offer the public and then the Warrior would blog about it – internationally. I, too, took several Warriors through the Marco Gonzalez Maya site. About a year after Mr. Figueroa had been to the site, completed his Belize adventure and gone home, I received an e-mail from him. He’d remembered our conversation about future plans for Marco including a proper boardwalk and a Visitors/Educational Center for all to see and learn about the Coastal Maya of Ambergris Caye. He said in the e-mail that he’s an alumni from the UPR School of Architecture. He’d had conversations with the Dean of the College regarding our Center since UPR/SA had done many international projects, he asked if we would be interested in a collaboration to design something for our non-profit group.
This out-of-the-blue suggestion was very exciting. A “non-profit” is always grateful for help where offered, especially when the cost to us is free and the value to the community would be tremendous. After conferring with the Board, NICH, Institute of Archaeology and Minister Heredia/BTB, we accepted their offer. The travel plans were made for a representative to visit San Pedro and Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Reserve to get a feel for our past and present culture. Mr. Tom Marvel, Professor of the Grad Program/UPR/SA, was on island a short time, but the conversations were non-stop with meetings everywhere. Mr. Marvel’s trip ended with a working dinner with SP Mayor Guerrero, Culture Committee Chairman Paz, members of the MGMSAC, Ltd Board – at the expense of the Board, not the Mayor, by the way. Unfortunately, Minister Heredia was off island and could not attend.
Several have questioned “why not a Belizean designer?” “Why not use a Belizean college?” Although a recent article announced the collaboration, this project is far from written in stone. Furthermore, any plans offered FREE by any Belizean architect or school would certainly be considered. Ultimately, MGMS, Ltd has many steps to complete with many GOB agencies in order for any Center to even be built. We are transparent to explain: land has to be acquired, decision of where it is to be built (the Center cannot be built ON the site), the final design of the building, building funds sought, signoff by a Belizean architect, hiring a Belizean contractor through the bid process……..and that’s just the highlights.
In 2008 a conversation between two friends at a bar was held. “Our Maya history on the island should be preserved.” I’m very proud of the results to date. If you would like more information on the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site Project, call me, Jan Brown, 226-2059/662-2725. But be prepared for a lengthy conversation! Better yet, let’s talk during your tour through the only Archaeological Reserve on an island in the country of Belize…….the spirits of the Maya await you at Marco Gonzalez.