Scottish Rugby Invests In Scotland’S National Stadium
Scottish Rugby announced today (7 July) plans for further significant investment at Murrayfield. The developments follow the introduction of two high spec LED screens – the largest in Scotland – and digital scoreboards and the£2m upgrading of four back pitches last season, including one IRB compliant 3G artificial pitch.Work continues to ensure that the national stadium fulfils its purpose as both a top class training base for our national and professional squads and as a venue for high profile events, bringing massive economic benefit to Scottish rugby and the Scottish economy.One of the main investments in the coming year is in specialist pitch growth lights. Continued demands on the international pitch, coupled with a natural decline in turf quality in the shaded stadium during the winter months, led to investigation into how to best present Murrayfield’s central playing area. The answer lay in tulips from Amsterdam – or, more precisely, Dutch roses.A successful rose grower in Holland had pioneered the idea of artificial growth lights on mobile lighting rigs to help his products to flourish and transferred the concept to grass growing, initially on the pitch of local side PSV Eindhoven. Now these mobile lighting ‘arms’, from SGL Concept, are used by clubs including Manchester United, Celtic and Barcelona, and are set to be introduced at Murrayfield.Murrayfield Stadium Manager, Mark Laidlaw, said: “We’re purchasing six units which will cover a third of the pitch at any one time, plus two single units for areas of specifically hard use such as where logos have been painted. Three ‘passes’ of these units will cover the whole pitch.”The pitch held up well last season and, with the new lights, we will now be able to grow grass during the winter months, ensuring it will be in great shape for the seasons ahead.”SGL Managing Director Nico van Vuuren added: “We are proud to start working at Murrayfield; it is a fantastic stadium with a rich history and great ambiance and it deserves an equally great pitch. “We look forward to working with Scottish Rugby and are convinced that together we can ensure that Murrayfield will have a good quality pitch year-round.”The top surface of the international pitch was removed following the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival in May and the material recycled. Prior to June’s Oasis concert, the entire area was then reseeded to give the surface a fresh start, the first time this has happened since the 2005 Live8 event. In tandem with these developments, attention has also been given to provision for disabled visitors to Murrayfield. Work is underway on the West Strip disabled parking area where, in answer to feedback that the existing surface could be problematic for supporters in wheelchairs, a more direct tarmac-topped route has been designed. Meanwhile, within the stadium, electric double doors have been installed on the disabled deck to reduce draughts.Other work in progress includes assisting the natural drainage and resurfacing of the Saughtonhall Car Park. This will improve the parking facilities for visitors to smaller events such as the National Youth Cup Finals and enhance access for supporters enjoying the facilities at Scottish Rugby’s marquee village during larger international matches.Plans are in hand to increase the turnstile capacity at the more popular North Stand entry point while centralising the Famous Grouse gates behind the West Stand, in line with the new West Car Park access arrangements.Scottish Rugby is working with TIE (Transport Initiatives Edinburgh) to progress a new stadium entrance at Roseburn Street, to complement the ongoing tram works. This will see a dedicated tram stop – to be called Murrayfield Stadium – with disabled compliant facilities put in place, opposite the existing Roseburn Street turnstiles which will be increased in capacity for more streamlined ease of access.Meanwhile inside the stadium, all the hospitality areas will undergo a programme of refurbishment, to continue to provide high quality match day hospitality and attract those staging conferences and events, thus increasing revenue for Scottish Rugby to reinvest in the game at all levels.Futher information• SGL (Stadium Growth Lighting) is a Dutch company that was the first to develop the concept of supplementary pitch lighting, in 2002, from their origins in rose farming.• In addition to supplying the lighting rigs, an SGL analyser in the stadium will measure light, oxygen, CO2, temperature, nutrition and humidity to determine exactly what the soil and grass require to ensure optimum growth is achieved.• The SGL Concept is in use at the Millennium Stadium, Twickenham, Wembley, Croke Park, FC Barcelona and Celtic Park.• The benefits of the system include summer quality surface throughout the whole year, even in winter; more frequent / intense use of the pitch; faster pitch recovery after wear; and an enhanced stadium image. TIE (Transport Initiatives Edinburgh) is working to deliver a new tram network for Edinburgh, scheduled to be running on the Capital’s streets by 2011. Phase 1a of the trams is currently being built and this runs from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven, stopping at Murrayfield Stadium and key interchange points throughout the route.