Austria: 'Temporary' stadiums proving quite a problem

source: ORF.at / AustrianTimes.at / własne

Austria: 'Temporary' stadiums proving quite a problem They were supposed to be downsized to avoid the so-called 'white elephant effect', but implementing the new solution of temporary stands proved to be more problematic than building too big stadia in the first place.

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According to Austria's modest plan of hosting Euro 2008, three of four stadia in this country were supposed to be built big temporarily and be scaled down after the tournament.

This was to be economically viable both in the short term and the long one – construction cost remaining reasonable and further maintenance cheaper than with big venues. Even more, visions of the unneeded sections being sold to get beck some of the cost were drawn.

Drawn maybe, but never happened. Innsbruck was seeking a buyer for many months a few years back, but no city or club proved interested in the steel structure of upper stands at Tivoli Neu. In the end the massive amount of prefabricated elements were melted in a foundry as no-one needed them.

As for Klagenfurt and Salzburg, both cities decided to retain the temporary stands. This may cost more in maintenance, but gives both cities bigger chances to host major international events, to name just Austria's international games. Despite local clubs falling well short of filling even the permanent stands, there are occasions when demand exceeds the lower tier and upper stands are used, with Salzburg's European cup games among these cases.

However, a new storm has started recently in Klagenfurt as city councillors feel misled by the mayor and his officers. It was revealed that converting the 'temporary' stadium into a permanent structure will cost a stunning €30 million ($40 million). Half the cost is getting covered by federal government, but still the upgrade costing almost 50% of the original stadium budget sounds worrying.

Part of the funds has to be used to strengthen the steel construction, as upper tier and roof proved to sway (!) while used by large crowds, causing safety concerns. Then comes traffic organisation around the stadium, which was planned for half the capacity that was left at the stadium.

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