February’s ‘Storm Darwin’ forced the hand of Kilkenny GAA Board, and a long fingered €300,000-plus project has had to be prioritised.
The project has been brought forward, and work on it will commence over the next few weeks. And by county hurling final time in October, the new roof and related work on the stand at Nowlan Park that was damaged during the Winter storm will be completed.
“Having two projects like the ’Park and the Dunmore training centre going together wasn’t how we had planned things, but the 12th of February changed that,” was how County Board chairman, Ned Quinn, explained things.
Roof ripped off
A large part of the asbestos roof on the Old Stand at Nowlan Park was ripped off during the violent storm which caused tens of millions of euros worth of damage as it swept across the country. The ’Board had no option but to remove the entire roof and have the asbestos transported to the Continent for disposal.
Now all the old steel supports for the roof of the stand have been removed. The ’Board has been given preliminary planning permission by Kilkenny County Council to erect a new roof, and the drawings for tender will be ready by the end of next week.
“It will be a modern roof with translucent sections between the steel to allow light through,” Mr Quinn explained. “It will be supported by two rather than four pillars as was the case heretofore. This should improve the view for fans because there will be less obstructions to the view.”
The new roof is being designed in such a way that it can extended at both ends out across the existing terracing in the future, if the ’Board ever decides that additional covered accommodation is required.
Kilkenny will entertain Offaly in the Leinster senior hurling championship at Nowlan Park on Saturday week, and about two weeks after that things should be ready to roll with the erection of the new roof.
Capacity the same
“The aspiration is to have the new roof and all works on the stand completed by county hurling final time in October,” Mr Quinn said. “The capacity of the stand will remain the same at 1,800.”
The work will involve demolishing part of the back wall of the stand where the press facilities are housed. There are steel sections running through this area, and these will have to be removed.
“The tenders will decide the costs, but we could be talking of a sum somewhere north of €300,000 for all the work,” the chairman added. “It will be modern building when completed.
“This is a job that would have had to be done at some stage because of the asbestos roof. We wouldn’t have done it now as we are working on a major development in Dunmore. We would have done one after the other.
“Fate took a hand and we had to change our plans,” he concluded.