Leaky Waikato Stadium roof upgraded

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013
 Waikato Stadium
Peter Drury/FAIRFAX NZ

Revamped: Waikato Stadium operations manager David Casey enjoys the view from under the new roof of the WEL Network stand.

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Construction of the new roof on the WEL Network stand is nearing completion as Waikato Stadium gears up for the 2013 season.

Hamilton City Council is funding the project to the tune of $499,000 and the stadium's operations manager, David Casey, said it has been a long time coming. "It has shown signs of deterioration," he said. "It has been OK but it has been in need of an upgrade."

The stand was built in the 1950s and the roof was in its original condition, complete with leaks and deteriorating beams.

The old materials have been scrapped and replaced with around 1500 square metres of new roofing panels and improved walkways for safe access to the roof.

Wooden beams have been replaced with steel and the entire structure has been painted while 300 square metres of new wall panels line the rear of the stadium, helping to reduce the din created by raucous fans.

It has been a nervous time for Mr Casey with the 2013 event season looming. International stunt show Nitro Circus is back next month while the Chiefs Super Rugby season have their first home game in early March.

"The important part to us was to get it done before the events start - especially the rugby," he said.

"Our window is around November, December and January and that late spring and early summer is about the only chance we have got."

The new roof is the same size and shape as the original but has a new colour scheme, security cameras, speaker system and access for a television camera.

He said cost has been a major factor in the upgrade and the cheapest option was to build "like-for-like".

"We have been able to revamp it to suit. We would have loved to have come out further to cover more seats but you are looking at huge dollars."

There is plenty of history in the WEL Network stand with old changing rooms and two bars downstairs, but there are no plans to refurbish the whole building.

"The facilities are still pretty old and not always used but if you want to go and buy a hotdog and use the concessions - it is a little bit nicer there now than what it used to be."

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- Waikato Times

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