EXCLUSIVE images illustrating how Meadowbank Stadium will look following a planned £43 million revamp have been unveiled for the first time.
Fresh blueprints show a stadium transformed from the purpose-built arena which hosted the 1970 Commonwealth Games with floor-to-ceiling windows, modern architecture and views of Arthur’s Seat.
Boasting indoor and outdoor athletics tracks alongside 3G synthetic pitches for rugby, detailed plans also present a stadium with arched ceilings and an airy, open-plan interior.
It is thought the spacious design will bathe the complex in natural light pouring in from skylights, while upper levels will feature stunning views over the city. Among the facilities are football pitches, an eight-court sports hall with 500 permanent seats, a gymnastics area and even a possible base for Edinburgh Rugby as it seeks to relocate from Murrayfield.
A healthcare centre offering physiotherapy, remedial massage, injury rehabilitation, and nutritional advice has also been included in the blueprints.
The designs suggest a pedestrian bridge which currently takes visitors from London Road to the main reception is likely to be scrapped, with the stadium boundary due to rest yards from London Road.
At the heart of the new layout, is an entrance and reception area, with a neighbouring gym, cafe and retail area.
The revamp project faces a £20 million shortfall and the News revealed earlier this month that naming rights to the new stadium could be sold off to fund the redevelopment.
City chiefs argue that the facelift would “future-proof” Meadowbank for the next 50 years.
Accounts reveal the sports centre lost more than £400,000 over 2013-14 despite welcoming more than half a million visitors.
The planned revamp comes as council chiefs warn the city has only five years to save the 45-year-old landmark from closure due to its increasingly run-down condition.
June Peebles, interim chief executive of Edinburgh Leisure, insisted Meadowbank was “part of Edinburgh’s sporting heritage”. She said: “Edinburgh Leisure is delighted to be working with the council on this exciting project to design a new Meadowbank for the city, creating the concept for an inspiring and welcoming venue that would support even more people to get active, stay active and achieve more.”
Jim Grimley, director at Reiach and Hall Architects – the firm behind the new designs – hailed Meadowbank’s “glorious history” and insisted the firm was “delighted to be helping the council with the project”.
He said: “Our preliminary design places the new building between the existing outdoor sports arena and London Road which achieves two aims – it maintains the facilities at Meadowbank, whilst enabling the creation of a welcoming building, with a strong civic presence on to London Road.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture and sport leader, said: “This is a commitment from the council to continue work to the redevelopment of Meadowbank.
“The next step is to carry out a ground survey so we better understand the conditions of the existing site, and to prepare a development brief.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, and the full funding necessary for a project of this scale needs to be identified and sourced.
“The architect plans as they are at the moment would see the existing facility taken down and transformed into a brand new sports complex that would serve sporting needs locally and nationally.
“As we push the project forward we want to continue stakeholder and community engagement and hear what residents think about the designs.”
The plans for the new sports centre will go before councillors at a budget meeting on Thursday and if funding is secured the complex could open its doors as early as 2018.