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Ensuring the Saints go marching on

UNDER the shadow of the National Lift Tower (known locally as the Northampton lighthouse) that is a part of the company’s heritage, FK Howard will soon be instrumental in the final stage of the redevelopment of Franklin’s Gardens.

Once Northampton Saints’ season is done and dusted, work will commence immediately with the demolition of the existing Sturtridge Pavilion (North Stand). The Sturtridge will be replaced with the new Barwell Stand and a new North West Corner Stand.

The new stands will complete the redevelopment of the stadium taking the capacity to over 15,340.

UNDER the shadow of the National Lift Tower (known locally as the Northampton lighthouse) that is a part of the company’s heritage, FK Howard will soon be instrumental in the final stage of the redevelopment of Franklin’s Gardens.

Once Northampton Saints’ season is done and dusted, work will commence immediately with the demolition of the existing Sturtridge Pavilion (North Stand). The Sturtridge will be replaced with the new Barwell Stand and a new North West Corner Stand.

The new stands will complete the redevelopment of the stadium taking the capacity to over 15,340. This is an important stage in the club’s development as it will make the ground eligible to host European games from the quarter final stage onwards.

According to the Saints website this ‘is the single biggest leap in capacity in the history of Franklin’s Gardens’.

The new facilities will include an additional 1,900 seats, improved disabled access and viewing areas for disabled supporters, a ground floor Members’ Bar, a first floor suite holding up to 270 people, the replacement of 21 hospitality boxes with 10 new boxes, a state-of-the-art stadium control room, amenities and turnstiles and increased media capacity.

Darren Quincey, Managing Director of FK Howard, said: “This is the latest stage of our ongoing relationship with Northampton Saints. Having previously managed the development of the Tetley’s, Church’s and Burrda stands we were delighted to have been appointed as Project Manager and Quantity Surveyors for the new Barwell and North West stands.

“This final stage will link the new stands to the existing Tetley and Church’s stands and it has its own unique construction challenges. Access to the site and the construction working area is restricted by the existing stands and neighbouring buildings.

“We need to have everything in place to move as soon as the season finishes, which can’t be predicted yet, should Saints have a home tie in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals, so we have to wait to see when the demolition works can begin. We do expect the successful Contractor to commence enabling works before the last game of the season, and indeed significant preparation works have already been undertaken.

“Once the main works start, we have until the beginning of the new season in October to have the stand ready for spectators. Work will go on after that on hospitality areas, with the whole project expected to be completed by early 2016.”

The Barwell Stand project is the latest in a long line of local projects with which FK Howard has been involved. The list includes the aforementioned National (Express) Lift Tower in the early 1980s, as well as work on the Guildhall extension, Towcester Racecourse Empress Stand and work at Northampton School for Boys and Pitsford School.

Under way currently are a number of projects in conjunction with the Borough Council including the redevelopment of Greyfriars Bus Station and a new sports hall at Pitsford School.

Darren Quincey added: “We have a long history of working in and around Northamptonshire, as well as carrying out projects across the UK, and it has been encouraging to see optimism returning recently both locally and nationally.

“After some difficult years the construction sector is starting to pick up again, although the rate of improvement is being governed somewhat by the lingering effects of the recession, such as a skills shortage, with so many people having left the sector during the downturn, and the lack of certain materials, which were not being made and stockpiled during the recession and are now causing potential delays.

“But on the whole, it is more positive out there now and we hope that continues to be the case.”

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FK Howard