BULLDOZERS will begin tearing down Meadowbank stadium today to make way for a new £45 million facility.
Demolition of the grandstand marks the start of turning the 50-year-old venue into a state-of-the-art sports centre.
Livingston-based Graham Construction is expected to start building the new facility for the city council in the summer.
“This is another major milestone in our project to build a brand new Meadowbank,” said Depute Culture and Communities Convener Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan.
“The venue will become one of the country’s top community sports centres when it opens in 2020, featuring some of the most state-of-the-art fitness facilities in Britain.
“The huge physical, mental and social benefits this project will bring to generations of local people simply can’t be overestimated and I’m excited to see Graham Construction on site and at work on Edinburgh’s flagship new venue.”
Included in the plans are a new dedicated indoor athletics area, new gym with triple the amount of exercise stations than before, plus a purpose built space for throw athletes.
Some trees will be felled but officials sought to reassure work will begin in early February ahead of bird nesting season and new trees will be planted as part of the development.
The number of trees on the site will increase while the council is planning to recycle wood with replanting happening once the new centre is built.
All materials from the stand that could be recycled, including all the seating, have already been removed.
Builders are expected to hold regular events as work to keep the community updated on progress and any job opportunities.
Ongoing consultation is planned over the coming months as the project also aims to contribute to “affordable” housing targets.
Expected to open in 2020, the new centre will include a larger dedicated indoor athletics area.
Two games halls will provide space for a basketball, badminton and five-a-side football to match the size of the halls in the previous facility.
A new gym with triple the number of exercise stations will be built, alongside three larger facilities.
Indoors, the venue will also boast martial-arts and boxing spaces, two squash courts, a café and an office for Edinburgh Leisure.
Outside, the running track will be resurfaced and two new all-weather pitches for football will be available all year round.
A purpose-built space for throw athletics such as discus and javelin and bespoke changing facilities for outdoor users will be constructed also.
Mark Munro, chief executive of Scottish Athletics, said: “It is great to see the project progressing, particularly with the appointment of Graham Construction.
“The concept imagery also brings to life the new centre and the proposed layouts for the public to see which is fantastic.”