Grand Old Dame takes one step closer to destruction

Iran’s 3-1 win over Singapore in January this year in a qualifier for the 2011 Asian Cup was the last football match at the National Stadium.

Three years after its official closing ceremony, work has finally begun to prepare the Grand Old Dame for demolition, making way for the $1.87-billion Sports Hub.

The pitch where football stars from here and all over the world played on has already been pulled out, but some of it will be preserved to become part of the new facility when completed by early 2014.

“The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) is working closely with the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) to ensure the legacy of our old National Stadium is maintained and remembered in the new structure,” SSC director for corporate communications and relations Alvin Hang told MediaCorp yesterday.

“Apart from displaying some of the items at the new Sports Museum, other artefacts could be placed elsewhere around the Hub.”

These include the Seiko clocks above the turnstiles, some of the 300 giant floodlight bulbs, the wooden spectator benches and the cauldron that was first lit at the 1973 Seap Games. There are currently no plans to auction the items off, although the SSC would consider proposals to organise one.

The 20 sports and recreation centres island-wide could also receive some of the items from the current 55,000-capacity arena, which was opened in June 1973.

From now until the stadium is pulled down, the carparks around it will be closed in phases, starting with carparks A to D and J today.

In January 2008, the Government awarded SSHC the tender to design, build and operate the hub on a 25-year lease, in what is the world’s largest Public-Private Partnership project. The new Sports Hub will include a 55,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof, a 6,000-seat aquatics centre, a sports institute and a water sports centre.

The project stalled after the global economic meltdown led to escalating building costs and only recently got back on track.

“Negotiations are at the final stage and construction will commence immediately after the official announcement of the contract completion,” said Hang. “The timeline, which includes demolition of the old National Stadium, will be revealed during the official announcement.”

Source : Today – 16 Jul 2010

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