Venues: Yarrow Stadium rebuild on track and within budget

Wednesday, Jun 05 2024

Venues: Yarrow Stadium rebuild on track and within budget

Will Johnston 

The nearly $80million redevelopment of Yarrow Stadium is within budget and on time, with the venue still expected to be fully open in time for next year’s winter sports season.  

The Westown venue has been a construction site since work began on the earthquake-prone west stand in 2020. The venue was partially reopened in September 2022 when Taranaki hosted Waikato as work began to demolish and rebuild the east stand. 

The budget for the redevelopment increased to $79.7million from $70million after a cost blowout in July last year because of the rising construction costs and inflation. $30million was secured from the government’s shovel ready scheme to lighten the load on ratepayers.  

As the new east stand starts to take shape, Taranaki Regional Council director, corporate services Mike Nield, who has overseen the project from its inception, said the timeline and budget have remained the same.  

“And the forecast is to remain within budget, too,” he said. “Clelands are doing a fantastic job.”  

The focus on the new 1800-seat east stand has been completing the steel superstructure, which started at the southern end of the site.

“Basically, it’s the bone structure of the stand to allow for everything to be built on top of that.”  

Installation of the bleachers, which will be placed on top of the superstructure, will be completed at the end of July and the roof rafters will start this month. Concrete pours will be finished in August before the entire building is closed in, which Nield compared to building a house.  

“It will be closed in, and everything goes quiet, but it will be frantically busy on the inside.”  

The bottom floor of the new stand is “pretty standard,” and it will include changing rooms for players and officials, media and drug testing rooms, a kitchen, and shared areas for users. 

Nield said the previous stand, which was the first to be deemed earthquake-prone at the end of 2017, was built to accommodate the main field, meaning it was expensive to open.  

“The new design will be more flexible for those only wanting to use the back fields, and it can be opened in sections.” 

The number two field will be reinstated once construction is completed. There are no plans to match the field quality with the main ground, which includes a combination of grass and artificial, but Nield is open to considering that in future plans.  

He said it might also depend on what the Tuparikino Community Hub will look like at the racecourse as he’s keen to complement the facility.  

Once completed, he wants the venue to “go after” big national and international events.  

“We want the stadium to be used by the full range, from community users to international events. It will be a quality facility that’s there to be used.” 

The new LED lights on the four towers were installed in 2021 and have already been replaced. They were recalled; however, Nield said they were replaced at the provider’s expense.