Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maoliosa McHugh claims staff are "pulling out all the stops" to ensure the new Brandywell Stadium is up and running as soon as possible.
No date has been set for the re-opening of the redeveloped stadium, raising concerns works may not be completed in time for the new League of Ireland season but with the laying of the new 3G pitch underway, Cllr McHugh said good progress had been made.
“The contractors and staff are pulling out all the stops to advance with this regeneration project and to get the facility up and running as soon as possible.," explained Cllr McHugh.
"As with any project of this scale, we have experienced some issues and delay. On top of that we have experienced some poor weather conditions, but we remain committed to working with all our stakeholders, user groups and the people of the Brandywell area to do what we can to have the facility open as soon as we can.”
“This is a hugely significant project for the Council and a key element of our Strategic Growth Plan to regenerate and invest in sport, health and well-being. The Council acknowledges the importance of the Brandywell as a Council asset and this investment is further evidence of the Council’s commitment to investing in the city and district and enhancing our sports, health and well-being facilities,” he said.
Impressive progress has been made on the Brandywell Regeneration Project over the past number of weeks although some of the final works remain weather dependent.
The Project consists of a new 955 seater stand incorporating new changing rooms, media facilities, meeting spaces, safety control centre, along with standing accommodation for 270 spectators that will bring the existing capacity of the ground to approximately 3,700.
In addition to the stand, the project includes a synthetic turf pitch, a standalone dog track, the refurbishment of the Southend Park stand and additional car parking as well as substantial improvement works across the Stadium, including the replacement of the boundary walls to the wider Brandywell site.
Progress on the new the 3G pitch, with the laying of the carpet, is at an advanced stage although the final installation of the rubber crumb and sand dressing will complete as soon as weather permits
Meanwhile the internal completion of the new stand sees the facility take shape with the fit out of changing rooms and meeting rooms largely complete, although it is expected that the corporate facilities will be completed at a later time when the fire safety glazing is installed.
The installation of seats commences this week and the Council stressed there is a strong push from the contractors to complete finishing works while the additional works approved by Council for the Southend stand are also ongoing.
Staff are planning for the opening of the facility that will see it being used for a wide range of sports including greyhound racing and competitive FAI League of Ireland premier games by Derry City.
Booking arrangements will be announced shortly, although a phased range of trials for dog racing will commence this week as part of the commissioning arrangements.
Sports stadia ground licensing and FAI League of Ireland inspection will follow, preparing the way for competitive fixtures. In the interim sports development activity and Derry City FC and league club training will be programmed as part of the bedding in process of the 3G pitch surface.
The close out programme is being monitored on a weekly basis with the official fixture dates to be confirmed at the earliest opportunity.