THE surreal sight of Malcolm Construction equipment on the iconic Hampden turf has signalled the start of work to transform the famous old football stadium into a world class athletics arena for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The key moment of the Games’ most innovative construction project was overseen by Scots medal hopeful Meggan Dawson-Farrell who will compete for Team Scotland in the T54 1500 metres.
Commemorative sections of the turf were presented to lucky members of the Tartan Army.
Hampden will take centre stage as the venue where the Commonwealth’s elite track and field athletes will go head-to-head for gold.
It will be a Hampden like no one has seen before. As part of its temporary transformation, the stadium will be given a dramatic new look to gain the width and length required for an IAAF-approved athletics track.
The playing surface will be raised by more than 6ft on a grid of structural steel stilts. This will be the first time this technology has been used on this scale to deliver a world-class athletics event.
For Games-time the arena will be transformed into a 44,000-seater stadium, before returning Hampden to its current 52,000 capacity.
Work to reconfigure the stadium is expected to be finished by mid-May with the venue expected to play host to the 2014 Scottish Schools Athletics Championships in June.
Hampden Park has already benefited from its link to the Games, with the Organising Committee having funded a £3million permanent extension to the stadium’s North Stand including new and improved spectator facilities. This work was completed in time for last season’s Scottish Cup Final in May.
It complements wider legacy improvements to the Hampden Campus.
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014 said, “The stadium and the packed crowds inside it will undoubtedly create a fantastic atmosphere for these great athletes and we look forward to welcoming them.”