Lead contractor Paul Whitehead updates supporters regarding the latest goings-on in the new North Stand.Written by Paul Whitehead.
We thought we would do something different for the latest blog so I recently took several members of the club staff including Chief Executive Neil Joy and Commercial Manager Jenny Warburton for a tour of the facilities in the new stand.
This is part of an on-going process as all staff take tours of the new facilities. Needless to say the younger generation of the group were most intent on taking selfies from their mobile phones. Apparently they are the first to take them some 15 metres above SportsDirect.com Park, but whatever floats your boat.
For the first time since construction began we had access to all four levels so as well as taking staff round the full facility we have filmed the tour to share with supporters.
As can be seen from the video, which will be released in due course, work has been going on in several areas of the stand. On the ground floor the concrete slab has started to go down and at the time of writing, the east concourse is complete and the gym is substantially complete.
The concrete apron along the front of the stand is also under way and over the coming weeks, the fencing and advertising boards will be moved back from the pitch side. The mastic pointing of the terraces is also under way. On the upper floors, the metal decking is all in place with stud welding completed and the reinforcement bars and steel mesh is being placed ready for the concrete to be pumped in.
Alterations are currently underway to install additional risers to the upper floor decking, prior to the concrete being poured to allow for the additional ventilation requirements of the gym and shop. The design has also been altered to make part of the cladding to the second floor removable to accommodate a future user of that floor. There are also a number of other design changes being implemented.
So much has been going on over the last few months as the scheme finally comes together that it has changed my whole match day experience. After 39 years helping out in the ticket office (a job I have thoroughly enjoyed and will probably miss more than I care to admit) I now find myself doing other duties, which mainly consist showing prospective clients and users of the new stand around the facilities and discussing how the facilities can meet their needs.
It is difficult to show people around during the week due to the activities on site so most of the visits are being done at non working times. Interest in the new stand has steadily risen and more and more of my time has been spent on site on match days as opposed to the "cosiness" of the ticket office.
I am sure that it has not gone unnoticed that Sky filmed their coverage of the Fleetwood game from the new stand. Having watched most home games from the ZenOffice Chadderton Road stand for the last 30+ years, I have watched the last three games from the new stand and I have to say the view is in my opinion the best in the ground.
Due to some of the design changes we have re-scheduled part of the the cladding, curtain walling and window works. The netting and edge protection is in place ready to start this phase of work and the first panels for the roof are due on site in about a week.
The works to the cladding and windows has a very "Royle" influence! No, not Joe, but his son Lee who has helped us put the package together. Lee has also helped us with the facing bricks including the named bricks and has handled the whole package with the brick manufacturer including the engraving.
Bricks are due on site in the coming weeks so those who have bought them will soon start seeing them go in place. We will try and take photographs of the panels as they go up and get them onto the website.
The video will be available to view in due course.