Cats' new stand

Concept image of the Skilled Stadium redevelopment by Peddle Thorp Architects.

Thursday, September 18

SKILLED Stadium will become an ``iconic'' sporting arena with some of the best football viewing in Australia under a futuristic $26 million redevelopment.

Key stakeholders yesterday unveiled concept drawings for the new three-tier grandstand along Moorabool Street.

The three-tiered stand on the eastern wing includes ramps at either end, 6000 seats, 50 corporate boxes and a 650-seat function room.

The ground floor would provide for visiting teams and coaches, umpires, medical facilities and have a plaza-style entrance facing Moorabool Street.

The ground's capacity would remain about 28,000, with the stand rising from the back half of the existing terrace.

The plans, developed by Peddle Thorp Architects, will see the existing concrete terrace replaced with curved lines and multi-level access ramps.

City of Greater Geelong major projects manager Stephen Wright said the curved structure would transform Skilled Stadium into a modern arena with its own distinct character.

``It is iconic,'' Mr Wright said.

``It starts to look like something pretty special, which is what we really want to achieve here in the budget.''

He said the tiered seating in the concept drawings would improve views for spectators.

``The angle has been designed to provide probably the best views of football in Australia,'' he said.

``At anywhere in that seating area you could see the boundary.''

Mayor Barbara Abley said the concept drawing, with the Sportshouse facility, signalled a new era of community involvement in the sporting landmark.

``The Sportshouse will bring together administrators from across the region,'' Cr Abley said.

``To have these administrators based at such a central venue will maximise networking opportunities and emphasises the importance of the stadium to sport in this region.''

The City of Greater Geelong held a briefing for local residents and businesses this week in which they were given details on the scope and timing of the project.

The first stage of the redevelopment will be laying underground power lines along Moorabool Street, which is due to start within weeks.

Part of the existing eastern terraces will also be demolished in preparation for the major construction work.

``It is anticipated the project is still on time to deliver seating for the 2004 football season and the completed project for the 2005 season,'' Mr Wright said.