Thursday 25 February 2010
What's happening at Kingsmeadow - mid-season special report
With the perimeter lease now secured, work on improving the stadium to meet Ground Grading level 'A' has gone ahead at a great pace, under the watchful eye of the Stadium Working Group.
There is a whole range of improvements that are needed to meet Grade A standards, but the main one is the installation of two new turnstiles, to bring the total up to eight. We also need to be able to segregate away fans and, for each segregated area, we must provide refreshment and toilet facilities. So, in the north east corner of the stadium (i.e. where the John Smith's stand meets the Kingston Road end) we have now installed two turnstiles, which can be accessed from the car park behind the KRE.
Now that the turnstiles are in place, work is going ahead on the new toilets, which will be behind the existing temporary toilets, but beyond the stadium boundary wall. This involves replacing the existing septic tank Immediately behind the KRE goal we are having a new burger bar built. This will be for away fans who will enter the stadium via the new turnstiles and filter down the north end of the John Smith's stand. The following photo shows preparatory work for the area behind the John Smith's stand.
One of the more visible pieces of work is the extension of the KRE roof. This work isn't essential for Grade A classification. However, it is a necessary condition, laid down by Kingston Council, for increasing the capacity to 5,000, which will be needed within a year of entry to the Football League. With the new turnstiles meaning that away fans will be located in the northern end of the John Smith's stand, Dons fans will be reclaiming the KRE and we wanted to make sure that as many as possible can watch the game under cover.
The following photos show the roof in the early stages of construction and now nearly complete.
In the south east corner of the stadium you will see that a hole has been knocked through the wall behind ‘the tea pot', the wooden hut which serves hot and cold drinks, as well as sandwiches etc. Eventually, the tea pot will be removed and replaced by another new burger bar on the perimeter lease land in that corner of the stadium.
Another highly visible change is that the white, wooden A Boards along the front of the Paul Strank stand have been removed and replaced by a metal pitchside barrier. The wooden boards were in constant need of maintenance and replacement and a metal barrier will be much stronger and easier to maintain.
Finally, the floodlights have been enhanced over the last couple of weeks and are now certified to meet both Grade A level as well as the entry level for the Football League. Technology improvements mean that the new, brighter lights use no more power than the old ones, but we are sure you'll see the difference at our next home game.
There are more potential improvements in the pipeline. If we were to win promotion to the Football League we would need a control room, to monitor safety generally within the stadium, and we would also need to implement various internal changes to the dressing rooms. We have submitted a planning application for the control room as there wouldn't be enough time to get everything done between the play off final and the start of the following season. So, if everything does come good on the pitch we are well placed to be ready off it as well.