Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor
|Clubs||SV Darmstadt 98|
|Cost||€50 M ($55.6 M)|
|Contractor||Hellmich Unternehmensgruppe, Bauunternehmung Karl Gemünden and others|
|Address||Nieder-Ramstädter Str. 170, 64285 Darmstadt|
Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor – stadium description
What did the old Stadion am Böllenfalltor look like?
The old Stadion am Böllenfalltor was opened in 1921. During reconstruction between 1950 and 1952, the facility received an oval ring of stands based on earth ramparts that surrounded the athletics track. In 1975, a new main stand was built, in 1978 the eastern stand was heightened and in 1981 new floodlights were installed. In this form, the facility survived until the 21st century.
In 2014, the stadium was equipped with heated turf and, by enlarging the space around the playing field, the running track was removed. In autumn 2016, two provisional stands were built just behind the goals. Although the new stands were intended only as a temporary solution, they became the nucleus for the creation of a new facility.
When were the first plans for the redevelopment of Stadion am Böllenfalltor conceived?
The possibility of building a new stadium was explored by the city as early as the turn of 2012 and 2013. Various locations were considered, but the redevelopment of Stadion am Böllenfalltor was deemed the best idea. In 2015, consultations were held with the club and fans, resulting in the basic criteria that the new stadium should meet.
The initial concept called for the construction of four new stands in a typical football layout. A large part of the stands was planned for a standing room, which would occupy the lower sections of the auditorium.
When were the new stands behind the goals built at Stadion am Böllenfalltor?
In October 2016, a new temporary south stand was built at the stadium. It stood just behind the gates, replacing the previous arch. The new stand was intended for SV Darmstadt 98's fiercest supporters and had standing room as well as a canopy. The following month, a similar structure was erected on the opposite side, although it was fitted with plastic seats.
When was the final concept for the redevelopment of Stadion am Böllenfalltor conceived?
In 2016, the idea of building a new stadium in a different location was again considered, but eventually such a concept was abandoned and plans to redevelop the old stadium were revisited. At the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, the club took over Stadion am Böllenfalltor in perpetuity and established a new company called SV 98 Stadion GmbH to carry out the investment.
On January 17 2018, the concept for the new stadium, prepared by studio 1100 Architekten, was presented. The plan was very pragmatic and included keeping the temporary stands behind the gates for longer. The old floodlighting masts were also to remain in the stadium.
Along the pitch, however, two completely new covered stands were to be built, including a new main stand with VIP boxes and facilities. The capacity of the rebuilt arena was to be around 18,000 spectators. According to the guidelines developed during the 2015 consultation, the lower rows of the east stand were to contain standing room.
The construction of an office pavilion behind the main stand was also part of the plan. The investment was intended to be carried out in stages, maintaining the functionality of the facility throughout the works.
The architectural concept for the redevelopment of Stadion am Böllenfalltor can be viewed on a separate subpage
How did the redevelopment of Stadion am Böllenfalltor proceed?
The concept was initially estimated to cost €28.5 million. The first works were supposed to start already in spring 2018. However, the procedures were somewhat prolonged and the costs rose to more than € 40 million at the start. The contractor for the first of the two new stands – the east stand, the so-called "Gegengerade" – was announced on November 1, 2018 (it became the Hellmich Unternehmensgruppe).
When was the new "Gegengerade" stand built at Stadion am Böllenfalltor?
Demolition of the east stand started on December 10, 2018, and once the old structure was dismantled, construction of the new stand began. Its lower part with standing places was inaugurated at the start of the 2019/20 season, on August 4, 2019, on the occasion of the match against Holstein Kiel (2:0). The full opening of the new stand, including the upper section and canopy, took place on February 2, 2020, during a league match against VfL Osnabrück (2:2).
On October 31, 2019, the office pavilion behind the main stand, created to replace the annex of the sports hall standing next to it, was also put into use.
When was the new main stand built at Stadion am Böllenfalltor?
The final stage of the stadium redevelopment was the construction of the new main stand. Demolition of the old one began on August 10, 2020, with demolition work carried out by Wilhelm Knepper GmbH & Co. KG. In November 2020, the first work on the construction of the new main grandstand began. On March 1, 2021, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the construction site. The shell structure was constructed by Karl Gemünden GmbH.
Metallbau Konrad GmbH was responsible for the metalwork. The finishing work was split between different contractors. The new main stand was partially opened to fans for the first time on October 8, 2022 during the match against Fortuna Düsseldorf (1:0).
When was the redevelopment of Stadion am Böllenfalltor completed?
The official opening of the new main stand and the entire rebuilt stadium took place on December 17, 2022. The inauguration featured a friendly match between SV Darmstadt 98 and Swiss BSC Young Boys, won by the hosts 2:0. The choice of rival for the opening of the stadium was no coincidence, as fans of both teams have friendly relations.
At the time of the official inauguration, the new main stand was not yet fully completed. The new boxes and hospitality areas were made available for the first time on March 18, 2023 on the occasion of the league match against 1. FC Kaiserslautern (2:0).
What does the new Stadion am Böllenfalltor look like?
The new Stadion am Böllenfalltor has a typical football layout. Four separate stands are located along each of the pitch lines. Those along the playing field are much higher and permanent in nature – made of reinforced concrete elements. The stands behind the goals are more temporary in nature.
All spectator seating is covered by a roof. The total capacity of the stadium is 17 810 spectators, of which more than half (9132) are standing. Four floodlighting masts, preserved from the old facility, stand in the corners. The stadium pitch is equipped with a heating system.
The main stand is located on the west side. It has a total of 2,982 seats for spectators, including 1,030 business seats, 264 in boxes, 50 seats for journalists and 106 for disabled people and their companions. The hospitality area has its own title sponsor and is called the ENTEGA VIP-Lounge. The back of the stand has changing rooms for the players, a conference room and other function rooms.
The grandstand on the eastern side, the so-called Gegengerade, holds significantly more spectators, 8318, despite its similar size. This is due to the lack of boxes and premium seating, as well as the presence of standing sections that occupy its entire lower section. A visitor section is located in the northern section of this stand.
The south stand offers standing room and can accommodate 3698 spectators. It is reserved for SV Darmstadt 98's die-hard supporters and since 2017 it has been named after Jonathan Heimes (Jonathan-Heimes-Tribüne), a supporter of the club who died at the age of 26 after a long battle with cancer. The stand on the north side is equipped with seats and can accommodate 2,812 people.
The final cost of the arena redevelopment was around €50 million, of which €21 million came from the city budget, €3.5 million from the state of Hesse and the rest was covered by the club. The title sponsor since 2014 has been Merck, a Darmstadt-based chemical and pharmaceutical company, hence the name of the stadium is Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.
How Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor compares to other Bundesliga stadiums?
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