NEC Harlequins celebrated the topping out of the new West stand at the Stoop Memorial Ground yesterday (Wednesday 25th May). A time capsule containing items representing all the groups who make up NEC Harlequins was also buried in the floor of the new stand. Amongst the guests was the Quins youngest fan - Molly Stewart, a mere eight weeks old.
The stand - being built by Metnor Group - will provide 3,850 covered seats and brings the capacity of the ground to 12,700. High quality new facilities include a new members' bar, a new club shop, 14 corporate hospitality boxes, three new corporate lounges, new player and officials' changing facilities, new club offices and new media facilities.
Tony Copsey, NEC Harlequins Managing Director said: "The new stand is now well on the way to being completed in time for the new season in September. We're looking forward to making full use of the fantastic facilities it will provide for everyone associated with the club."
Two of Metnor Group's companies - Metnor Construction and the mechanical and electrical engineering division Norstead - are involved in the £8.5 million project. Work on the site began in January.
Alan Greenwell, Managing Director of Metnor Construction said: "We are delighted to be working with the Quins on the West stand following our development of the stadium for Newcastle Falcons. We have a lot of expertise in steel structures and the special requirements of stadium buildings."
Structural engineers for the project are Buro Happold, architects Ruddle Wilkinson, project managers Hornagold & Hills, and planning consultants GKA.
The funding partner is Allied Irish Bank, whilst Quins received a grant of £111,000 from Sport England. The project has also been part-financed by the sale of land at the rear of the stadium to Laing Homes to develop 43 one and two bedroom apartments.
The time capsule contains:
â€¢ Team photo of the 2004/05 squad
â€¢ A Quins rugby ball signed by the 2004/05 squad
â€¢ Comment from Quins captain Andre Vos
â€¢ Copies of all current Quins brochures plus a selection of matchday programmes from the 2004/05 season, including the first 'London Double Header' and Quins game against Munster at Twickenham in the Heineken Cup
â€¢ Quinssa calendar
â€¢ Photograph of the 2003/04 Parker Pen Challenge Cup winning side
â€¢ Photograph of Will Greenwood and Jason Leonard in their Quins shirts with the Rugby World Cup (November 2003)
â€¢ Photograph and articles on Nick Duncombe (1982 - 2003)
â€¢ Photo CD of the Stoop showing the old West stand
â€¢ HOPA (Harlequin Old Players Association) handbook 1999/2000
â€¢ Harlequin Ladies items - including shirt, match report - as 2005 is their 10th Anniversary
â€¢ A copy of 'Immortal Harlequin' by Ian Cooper
â€¢ Details on the Mighty Quins (Junior Supporters Club)
*NB - Anyone wishing to purchase a Season Ticket in the new West stand for the 2005/06 season, then please call the Quins office on 020 8410 6000.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.