Pristine sheen of Warsaw venue to be restored



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Poland Warsaw Skra Sports Complex renovation Image: RKS SKRA Warszawa

After 13 years of protracted court battle – between the RKS ‘Skra’ Association and the City in which the latter had the last laugh – and finally with the intervention of the bailiff – Warsaw (Poland) finally has got the green light to start restoring the pristine sheen of the historic football and athletics stadium – Skra sports complex at Wawelska Street. Work on the same has already started.

The ‘City of Warsaw’ stated that the City has started cleaning up the area which has been much neglected over the years. A side court of the sports facility will be handed over to the residents this year. Negotiations on the terms of the contract will begin soon with an architectural studio that will prepare a design for the first stage of the reconstruction of the facility. PLN 25 million has been reserved in Poland Capital City Warsaw’s budget for its implementation and construction works to be carried out.

The RKS Skra Stadium is a historic football and athletics stadium in Mokotów Field, Warsaw, Poland. It is currently used mostly for rugby union matches as the home stadium of Skra Warszawa. The stadium has a capacity to hold 35,000 people, but has been closed since October 2019.

Skra Warszawa Rugby is a Polish rugby club based in Warsaw, Poland.

The ‘City of Warsaw’ further quoted Renata Kaznowska, Deputy Mayor, Capital City of Warsaw, as stating, “We are starting to restore the original glory of the Skra complex. Everything has started after a long-drawn court battle and the City’s determination to rehabilitate the historic venue. I have been personally involved in this whole initiative.”
 

Bitter battle

The nod to restore RKS Skra Stadium for the residents and sportsmen was given following a verdict of the appellate court on January 28th, 2021 which directed the RKS ‘Skra’ Association to hand over the land that had been occupied for over 40 years by them to the City. Going by the complexity of the whole issue, the bailiff had to finally intervene to recover over 20 hectares of land along with the stadium which sits at the intersection of Wawelska and Żwirki i Wigury streets. Recently, the “keys” of Skra were handed over by the bailiff to the City, and the reins of management of the property were given in the hands of the Active Warsaw Sports Center.

The above verdict is the result of painstaking efforts put in by the Capital City of Warsaw. From the very beginning, the City authorities’ intention was to settle the whole issue and take over the property in an amicable manner so that it does not affect the activities of the sports entities lodged in Skra. But, the stubborn attitude of RKS ‘Skra’ landed the whole matter in the court and the club was losing legal battles on the trot and finally had egg on their face. The cases were pending and it took long 13 years to arrive at a verdict.

Presently, the entire complex, pursuant to the decision of the Poviat Building Supervision Inspector, is out of use, as facilities are in danger of collapsing, and the remaining infrastructure may prove to be perilous for people practicing sports.
 

Well-oiled

The City has kept a budget of 25 million to rehabilitate the arena. The first step is to chalk out the design. To this end, Active Warsaw began talks as regards the contractual terms with an architectural studio.

Vice-President Kaznowska emphasized, “We are ready to start the negotiation process, because – regardless of the obstacles put up by RKS ‘Skra’ – as a City we announced and conducted an architectural and urban competition for coming out with a concept on modernization of the Skra. On October 16th, 2018, the aforementioned competition was won by the Warsaw Studio of Aleksander Wadas. The choice of the concept for the reconstruction of the complex was made with independent representatives of the designers, architects and the world of sports. Changes on Skra are supported by, among others, the Vice-President of the Polish Athletics Association and Olympic champion in shot put, Tomasz Majewski.

Design works, including obtaining a building permit, will take around 15 months. While the documentation is being prepared, Active Warsaw, with the help of the Road Repair and Maintenance Department, will take care of the inventory of the entire infrastructure and as well as the sustainability quotient. A cleanliness drive will be carried out. Highest priority will be given to the safety aspect of the stadium so that fans and players can come to the facility leaving all their worries behind.

Kaznowska added, “As a City, we have kept no legal loopholes and have put our best foot forward to ensure that we can restore the former glory of the Skra sports complex. We have secured funds for the first stage of the modernization of the complex and for the cleaning work that we are currently undertaking. PLN 25 million has been kept as reserve for the documentation and construction works of the first stage of the reconstruction of the facility.”
 

Added attractions

As per the winning concept, Skra will be opened to Pole Mokotowskie. A training stadium with back-up facilities and a recreation and sports zone will be built, connecting the park with the complex. Among the scheme of things planned are a running route, interval training routes and outdoor gyms. During winter, there will be a space for tobogganing (the activity or pastime of sliding downhill over snow on a toboggan), cross-country skiing and skating.

Stated Paweł Lech, Councilor, Member of the Sports, Recreation and Tourism Committee of the City Council of the Capital City of Warsaw, “We want Skra to become a great center for various sporting activities and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. I believe that – after refurbishment – this place will be perfect for fitness freaks and for the development of a young talent pool. We want this arena to be an inspiring force for the youths.”

Mokotów Field is a large park in Warsaw, Poland. A part of the parkland is called Józef Piłsudski Park. Located between Warsaw’s Mokotów district and the City center, the park is one of the largest in Warsaw. Until World War II, a major part was occupied by an airfield and the Warsaw Polytechnic aircraft works.
 

Restoration works

Later this year, athletes will have access to a grass side field, which they will be able to use until the Skra sport complex modernization is complete. The verdant space which was not taken care of for so long is being restored. After the requisite demolition works are carried out, in mid-2022, it is being planned to open the swimming pool to the residents. Of course, it will be connected to the park in Pole Mokotowskie.
 

Stadium price tag

The last stage of work will involve revamping the whole stadium. A new stadium will come up in lieu of the present one which is in a ramshackled condition. Until the stadium work starts, the whole facility will be fenced so that nobody can enter.

The price tag of stadium construction is not known yet, but preliminary estimates peg the figure at PLN 300-400 million. The exact amount will be known only when the design is ready and the deal sealed with the contractor.

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