Athletic managed to install their old roof arch along their primary training field. This is where fans will now gather and the structure will have a second life.
At the end of last week specialist crews mounted the historical arch of old San Mames stadium on two concrete pedestals. The operation took 5 hours and if that seems long, it’s not at all. In fact, preparations for the lifting of this legendary structure began on March 18 along with tests of stability.
Once a landmark feature at the old stadium’s western grandstand, now the 115-meter long arch hovers along Athletic Bilbao’s training stadium in Lazama, a village outside of Bilbao. Together with the concrete podiums it sits on, the arch rises to some 20 meters above field level, becoming a landmark again.
Eventually it is planned there will be a small spectators section under the arch, increasing capacity of the primary training field. This way the 62-year-old structure can again provide shelter to fans of Athletic, like it did at the old San Mames since 1953. Interestingly, architects were considering incorporating the feature in new San Mames, but that proved not feasible.