Glasgow 2014 marked the start of operations to transform the interior of Scotland’s National Stadium into a world-class athletics arena for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – with the lifting of the famous Hampden turf.
The key moment of the Games’ most innovative construction project was overseen by Scottish medal hopeful Meggan Dawson-Farrell who will compete in the stadium for Team Scotland in the Para-Sport T54 1500 metres at next year’s Games.
Hampden Park will take centre stage as the venue where the Commonwealth’s elite track and field athletes will go head-to-head for gold and glory in front of sell-out crowds.
It will be a Hampden like no one has seen before. As part of its temporary transformation, the stadium will be given a dramatic new look to gain the width and length required for an IAAF-approved athletics track.
An innovative technical solution will see the playing surface raised by more than 6ft on a grid of structural steel stilts. This will be the first time this technology has been used on this scale to deliver a world-class athletics event.
For Games-time the arena will be transformed into a 44,000-seater stadium, before returning Hampden to its current 52,000 capacity following the end of the Games.
Work to reconfigure the stadium is expected to be finished by mid-May 2014 with the venue expected to play host to the 2014 Scottish Schools Athletics Championships in June.
During Games time, Hampden will also feature the branding of Glasgow 2014’s Official Presenting Partner of Athletics, Virgin Media.
Hampden Park has already benefitted from its link to the Games, with the Organising Committee having funded a £3million permanent extension to the stadium’s North Stand including new and improved spectator facilities. This work was completed in time for this year’s Scottish Cup final in May.
It complements wider legacy improvements to the Hampden Campus, which have also seen the construction of a new pavilion for Queens Park FC at Lesser Hampden.
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014 said: “Today marks another exciting milestone in our journey to the Games with the start of the innovative and exciting transformation of Hampden, Scotland’s National Stadium.
“Hampden is already known the world-over as the home of Scottish football and we are thrilled that our exciting, innovative and sustainable plans will temporarily transform one of the world’s great football stadiums into a fantastic athletics competition venue for the elite athletes of the Commonwealth.”
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “Hampden Park is such an iconic venue for Scotland and will make for an absolutely fantastic patriotic arena for the Commonwealth Games.
“Selection for Team Scotland is well under way and our track and field athletes in particular have been showing great form. I know just how much they are looking forward to competing at Hampden and I’m delighted work to transform the stadium has now started.”
Hampden Park Managing Director Peter Dallas said: “After six years of detailed planning, today is another key date in our calendar. Everyone at Hampden is looking forward to assisting with the delivery of the Games which will add another chapter to Hampden’s long and proud history.
Like so many world class footballers and rock stars before them, the athletes will savour the unique passion and energy created by a full capacity crowd at Hampden.”