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Perth Major Stadium to get increased capacity and a roof?
The Western Australian Government is being urged to put a roof over Perth's planned new sports stadium and to increase its major event capacity to 70,000.
The West Australian newspaper has suggested that Populous, the architectural consultants developing the Project Definition Plan (PDP) for the new Perth Major Stadium to be built at Burswood, has argued strongly that a retractable roof would provide a better atmosphere for fans and enable more events to be staged there.
The roof idea has encountered resistance from the WA Government on the grounds that it would add significantly to the budgeted $700 million stadium construction cost and was unnecessary in a city that has fine weather for much of the year.
Among Populous' suite of projects, those with retractable roofs include Etihad Stadium in Melbourne and, in the USA, Reliant Stadium in Houston and the new Marlins Ballpark in Florida.
The conceptual stadium costed in the 2007 Perth Stadium Taskforce report had a sculptural roof covering most of the tiered stands, but not a fully enclosable roof.
However, WA Sports Minister Terry Waldron has not ruled out the proposal stating that he would wait to consider the finalised project definition plan "before making any decisions as to what options are in or out of the final design brief.
"The Government never considered a retractable or totally enclosed roof as it was not part of the task force recommendations and was therefore not included in budget considerations.
"Populous are looking at all the options for the stadium and they will be presented to the steering committee, which will then make recommendations to Government.
"The Government will then decide the options it wants to include in the brief to the architects."
Events promoter Brad Mellen, who ranks Etihad Stadium as the "best small stadium for watching sport in Australia", said a retractable roof was appealing because it took weather out of the event planning equation.
It is also believed that planning for the stadium will include providing a capability for it to be expanded to 70,000 seats for major events, the provision of comfortable seats to accommodate "bigger" fans and the inclusion of some standing room-only areas for spectators.
Stadium Project Director Ronnie Hurst recently explained that that the new stadium would be designed using a "fan-first philosophy" to ensure spectators had "a superior live experience".
Revealing key goals for the project, Hurst said it was hoped pre-game and post-game entertainment options within the surrounding commercial precinct would activate the area seven days a week and also help stagger the arrival and departure times of fans on game days.
Hurst said comfortable seats to accommodate "bigger" fans with more space between rows and improved lines of sight were also important, as were good food and beverage options and better toilet facilities.
He added that while the final stadium definition plan to guide the design was not due until July, options at other stadiums being looked at included the use of "communal standing areas", giant screens and interactive technology such as stadium "apps" that provided game-day information.
Addressing businesses and community leaders at a recent Committee for Perth lunch, Hurst said "while we are not building this stadium for the top end of town" about 10% of stadium seating capacity would be dedicated to "money can buy" opportunities. He said other stadiums being studied had "social suites" for 50 to 100 people, exclusive club lounges and field clubs where fans watched players warm up and "high five" as they took off down the race.
Hurst said AFL clubs had also suggested the creation of a "coach's box" where fans had 360 degree viewing access to "the antics of the coach".
The Western Australian Government plan for the new Perth Major Stadium to be built to host Australian Football League (AFL), international rugby union tests and rugby league events, international football and cricket matches as well as open air concerts.
For more information go to www.perthstadium.com.au
17th December 2011 - Populous appointed consultants for first stage of Perth’s major stadium project
20th October 2011 - Key appointments at Perth Arena
29th June 2011 - Major new stadium to be built on Perth’s Burswood Peninsula
23rd February 2011 - Fans object to Subiaco Oval naming rights sale
29th January 2010 - Cricket receives high-level ambush advertising protection
2nd April 2009 - Populous - Drawing People Together
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