Seats are being installed, as are standing area railings. But the massive east stand at Wildparkstadion won't be ready in time. This could derail all of the stadium reconstruction effort.
The first phase of Karlsruhe's Wildparkstadion reconstruction is coming to a close soon. The large east stand with part of the future corners is getting its final shape these days: seats installed from the south, railings installed from the north (2,500 for away fans, with special bridge to connect the section with parking created on what used to be a training field). Glass walls are adorning the top of the stand, while metal sheeting is beginning to cover it. Toilets are being equipped as we speak, while catering and merchandise kiosks are being built.
Just looking at photos you'd think everything is going according to plan. But then you have to take a look at the schedule. The 9,400-strong grandstand was supposed to be ready in mid-September, which leaves just a week. And yet the projects is several weeks from completion at least.
The reason isn't what you might think, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, but a serious error during the roof assembly. As it turned out, girders delivered to bear the weight of the roof didn't meet specification, which wasn't discovered before they were mounted atop the stadium. The operation of removing them and replacing with proper elements has cost weeks in August, disturbing nearly all other works.
It's still unclear to what extent the schedule has been altered but any delay with the east stand is a major issue. This section has to be opened in order for the west side to be demolished. That operation was supposed to begin in December and it's unclear whether the date would be kept.
Ironically, the delay is less problematic thanks to the COVID-19 crisis. As fans are unlikely to return in high numbers this season, not all of the east stand has to be ready on time. That said, a temporary control room is being created on its top, while players will soon have to move to a container complex.
Until the end of 2020/21 the stadium will offer a temporary north stand and the east stand (once approved for use). In mid-2021 the south end is expected to be ready, while all of the 34,000+ stadium should be delivered in 2022.
It's unclear what the price tag would be. Including anciliary works, the project was expected to consume €123 million. However, since May it's been clear that the worst case scenario could see an increase of €20 million.