Levante’s venue revamp work strides ahead


Levante Stadium update July 2020 Image: Levante UD

Spanish football club Levante UD’s Phase 1 of stadium reconstruction is progressing at good pace even amid the coronavirus menace. They did not manage to start work on the development last year, but now progress is seen almost every day.

Levante UD is a Spanish football club in Valencia, Spain. Founded on September 9, 1909, it plays in La Liga, holding home games at the 26,354-capacity Estadi Ciutat de Valencia Stadium.

La Liga is the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system.

Ever since the stadium went on stream in 1969, Estadi Ciutat de Valencia has not undergone any structural changes, even after the 2016 overhaul of existing facilities. The concept for a first ever structural revamp was released in 2018 and was supposed to start the following year. But, things did not take off in 2019.

Eventually, preparations were launched only in January of this year, when additional steel columns were put up around the venue’s concrete bowl. Each of them will soon lend support to the new roof.

The first phase of the project will see a completely new canopy (based on steel cables and compression ring around the arena), fresh LED lighting system, new public address system, giant screens and a new playing field come up. Around €17 million is expected to be expended in all of the work.

As the stadium had to be used, stadium reconstruction work was done in a phased manner and external work began way back in January. But, the global outbreak of COVID-19 which took a heavy toll on Spain led to work getting delayed a little and it was only on June 2 that work of pulling down the roof of the old main stand began and concluded on July 7. Now, the assembly of the steel compression ring is going on, with segments being placed on permanent and temporary supports around the stadium. Once this work is over, preparations for the cable roof’s ‘big lift’ can begin.

Construction major of Valencia Grupo Bertolín has agreed to deliver all work in just 17 weeks time. Despite initial hiccups, the coronavirus pandemic helped in a way as it helped to speed up stadium work.

With ghost games being played once La Liga resumed, Levante were able to relocate to the small Estadi Olímpic Camilo Cano facility in La Nucía (at Alicante in Spain) for the last six games of 2019-20. Still, it turned out that playing the first games of 2020-21 away would be necessary. As things stand, Levante are to have the stadium fully covered and operational by October 10.

The second phase of reconstruction will include expansion of facilities under the stands, particularly within the main grandstand. Once through, these will be wrapped in a new, elegant and modern facade. The total work is expected to consume €30 million (first phase included).

Estadi Ciutat de Valencia rewind

Built in 1969, the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia ground didn’t change much over the years. Closed off on all sides by single-tiered stands, the arena is covered only around the main grandstand side. Until 1997, this segment was also the only part of the venue to enjoy individual seats. But as requirements changed, new seats were installed and the capacity stood at just above 25,000.

In 2007-2010, a large shopping center came up directly along the east side, reducing the space available for public use (previously tennis courts and parking sites). In mid-2016, Levante UD decided to replace all the seats, at the same time repurposing the stadium’s structure.

Though the facility is not counted among ‘The Best’ stadiums in Valencia, it hosted a couple of international games of the Spanish national team, all friendlies.

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