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A summer like no other for Saints stadium manager

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

The Saints' season finished on May 23rd, after which things swung into action for Tresias and his team, firstly with the Party at the Gardens on Bank Holiday Monday and then the development of the new Barwell Stand, which is now dominating the skyline at the north end of the stadium site.

It has certainly been a steep, but nonetheless enjoyable, learning curve for Tresias.

“It was certainly an extremely challenging end to May,” he says. “We had the Aviva Premiership semi-final on the Saturday, after which we then had to set up the stadium to hold the Party at the Gardens concert on the following Monday evening.

“It was the first time that we had held such an event here, but the preparation and rigging all ran fairly smoothly. As with all sports stadia most of the infrastructure required to hold such an event is already in place, and it is a cast of adjusting your processes to support a concert as opposed to a rugby match. It was a great evening with a good atmosphere and I think all those who came had a good time.

“At the same time we had to strip out the Sturtridge Pavilion completely in readiness to hand over to Buckingham Group at six am on the Tuesday morning. Included in the stripping out and handover were the control tower and first aid room, which we were using until 11pm on the Monday evening.

“That was a bank holiday weekend I won't forget in a while!”

The subsequent two months have seen the north end transformed, with the controlled demolition of the Sturtridge Pavilion creating the room for the building of steelwork and concrete that will soon become the Barwell Stand.

As of the start of August the building work was still on schedule, something Tresias says is testament to the organisation that has been put in place by the club's contractors, work which began several months before the end of last season.

“The summer is a busy time for us anyway as if we want to do any significant work around the stadium that might impact on the playing side we effectively have a four-to-five week window to undertake it,” he comments. “This summer, on top of our normal work we have had to work closely with Buckingham Group to ensure that they can get on with their work uninterrupted as they are on such a tight schedule.

“It has been challenging co-ordinating everything but we have forged a good relationship with the team from Buckingham Group, which has helped considerably.

“Their works manager, Simon Morris, has been working with us since early in the year to oversee some of the enabling work that went on before last season ended. This also enabled us to do a lot of planning for the handover and the first few weeks of work to ensure that everything went smoothly.

“That pre-planning has certainly paid off, and it is working well on site. There is a clear demarcation of work areas to enable everyone to go about their work safely. The biggest impact has been to how people access the stadium and having to use Abbey Street, but everyone has adapted.”

And now that the framework has emerged from the ground Tresias adds that the ever-changing building site is providing a highlight every day.

“It certainly makes you feel good to come into work every day and be able to see the progress on the new stand and to feel part of creating the next chapter for this club and stadium,” he says. “The stadium will look very impressive once the Barwell Stand is completed.”

Supporters can also be a part of the 135-year history of Northampton Saints by becoming part of the first group of Season Ticket Holders in the new Barwell Stand. Full pricing and booking information is at www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/seasontickets

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