Athletic Stadium 95% complete 33 days before turnover on August 31st

The Athletic Stadium is expected to be turned over to BCDA by 15 August, according to MTD Philippines president Nicholas David

  • July 29, 2019

  • Written by Denny Mata

  • Photographed by Ed Simon

29 July 2019. Although co-developer and contractor MTD Philippines had already committed to turning over the Athletic Stadium two months earlier than the government’s October 30th deadline, MTD president Nicholas David has been pushing to turn over the facility earlier still, by August 15th, rather than August 31st. “We heard reports that the tracks where our national athletes have been training for the SEA Games actually hurts their feet and legs. The track is so bare and so packed, it’s like they’re running on stone. That’s very bad for our guys! I said we have to get them training here in New Clark City as soon as possible.”

The weather was not cooperating with David’s sense of urgency to finish the Stadium early, but from what BluPrint saw on our second visit to the New Clark City Athletic Stadium designed by Budji+Royal Architecture+Design, it appears his team will be able to pull it off.

 

READ MORE: 33 days before turnover: Aquatic Center 90% completed

 

Misty scenes greeted BluPrint when we arrived at 7:30 a.m. The bright pillars of the stadium in the patented ‘B+R Active Orange’ by Norwegian paint manufacturer Jotun and the pixelated flames formed by the bleacher seats appeared to us like a watercolor vignette. Unlike our first visit in May, when we squinted at the arid and dust-blown the stadium from behind tinted sunglasses, this time our eyes drank in the lush green of grass filling the center of the track oval, albeit behind thick and thin curtains of rain.

From the heavy rainclouds in the sky, we lowered our gaze a bit and saw the newly installed floodlights ringing the stadium roof.  Two scoreboards that weren’t there before hung on each short end of the stadium. Also newly set in inside the oval were two sets of netted posts for throwing events like the shot put, discus, hammer, and javelin. White lines and numbers now marked the competition track lanes, along with yellow and blue markers for hurdles.

The interior spaces of the stadium are the stark opposite of what we see outside. While the competition area is soaked in rain, the rooms underneath the bleachers are dry and dusty. Although the workers had begun vacuuming and washing the floors and walls, we were allowed to take peeks at the finished bathrooms, locker rooms, shower rooms, lounges for the VIPs and judges, and the indoor warm-up track underneath the bleachers. The air-conditioning units were already installed, although some hitches occurred in the lobby, with one of the subcontractors failing to make provision for more discreet placement of the ducting.

On the west side of the Athletic Stadium, across the soil-cemented earth that serves as a temporary road, is the warm-up track for the athletes, which may later be used by the public. “We’ve finished sealing the final layer for the warm-up track, which is the rubber sealant. Now we’re putting the last two layers of rubber. So, once the rain stops, we don’t have to dry it anymore, we just have to remove the water and put the final layer in,” David explains.

In between the overcast to torrential shifts of the weather, we surveyed the developments that the stadium had undergone in the 61 days since our first visit. “Right now, we are 95% complete with the stadium,” David affirmed. “The only thing we lack is actually energizing the two main scoreboards, as well as putting on the sound system. The lights are there, but we still need to manually adjust them to have the desired lux level for the entire field. The specialist is coming tonight, so tomorrow he’ll start balancing out the lights.”

“When that’s done, we’ll be ready for certification. As soon as we’re certified, we’re bringing the athletes in.” The Athlete’s Village isn’t quite ready for inhabitants yet, but MTD Philippines and BCDA are determined to give the athletes as much time as they can to practice on the official competition grounds. Housing and feeding them is the least of their problems, says David, who has several options he’s considering to make the athletes’ stay the best they will have ever had while training in the country. 

bluprint architecture new clark city athletic stadium budji+royal mtd philippines bcda
“The story of the Athletic Stadium is so beautiful,” Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vince Dizon tells BluPrint on a walking interview to the site, citing the stadium as an example of expressing Filipino identity. “It talks about the resiliency of the Filipino spirit, as its design is inspired by Mount Pinatubo. Even the lahar finish comes from that part of our history when the volcano erupted. But now rising from that disaster, you have this beautiful structure taking inspiration from that. In that sense, it’s beautiful.”
David says that they still need to manually adjust the stadium lights to achieve the desired lux level for the entire field. “The specialist is coming tonight. Tomorrow, he’ll start balancing out the lights. If you look at them right now, they are not in their optimal position.”

READ MORE: LOOK: New Clark City’s Athletic Stadium 5 months before its turn over

The VIP box and the presidential suite are located on the west side of the oval. Painted in black and orange, the VIP area adds color to the concrete finish stadium. “Our colors are very limited, which are mostly on structural details, the VIP box, the seats, and the track. Everything else is cement or lahar finish,” says David.
While the bleacher seats look like “pixelated lava,” as Budji Layug of Budji+Royal calls it, David says, “There’s a computer program that creates a pattern for the seats so that when a camera pans as it follows an athlete, it would look like there are people are on the seats–like it’s 90% full, even though it might be a small athletic program and there might not be very many people watching.”
According to David, having the stadium finished in raw concrete or lahar greatly reduces maintenance costs. “For us to maintain this, all we need is a hose and a water truck, and start watering it down and clean.”
While the precast bleachers were installed several months ago, David says the expansion joints that connect each layer needed to be done last.
David tells BluPrint, “People doing the field have to cross on the plastic because we’re waiting for the certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). We can’t risk one small defect in the tracks.”
Yellow and blue short lines mark the hurdles. “Depending on the event, there are yellow and blue lines. There are markers already so that you don’t have to measure them all the time and you have the same length for everybody,” David explains.
According to David, the outdoor and indoor warm-up track have the same rubber, like the one on the competition track. “It’s a requirement of IAAF so that when you’re warming up, it’s not a harder or softer track than the surface on which you actually compete.”

READ MORE: We visited New Clark City’s Aquatic Center 94 days before turnover—here’s how it looked

The IAAF also specifies the orientation of the longitudinal axis of the oval to lie along the north-south axis “to avoid the dazzling effect of the sun when it is low,” according to Royal Pineda of Budji+Royal.
Underneath the bleachers by the VIP box is the indoor warm-up track, 75 meters long and 3.5 meters wide.
One of the locker rooms, already equipped with air-conditioning, lockers, and changing cubicles. David says, “There are four locker rooms. Normally, you just need two female and male locker rooms. Here, we have four, so the teams will have enough room to prepare for their events.”
The public male toilet was also being finished at the time of our visit. The cubicles have toilet seats installed already, as well as the urinals and the wash area.
View of the field at night. “The field is football-ready. We just have to put goalposts and that’s it,” says David. (Image courtesy of BCDA)
As David mentioned, the stadium lights are yet to be balanced. “The location of the lights is correct, but the angle and tilt of the lights need to be fixed so that we don’t have the zebra effect, wherein there are certain portions of the field that is dark.” (Image courtesy of BCDA)
“The stadium looks beautiful at nighttime. The aesthetic lighting of the stadium is really beautiful. Budji+Royal helped design it as well,” BCDA president VinceDizon says. (Image courtesy of BCDA)

Read the full-length article and see more exclusive photos on the Athletic Stadium in BluPrint Volume 2 2019.

SEE EARLIER IMAGES: IN PHOTOS: New Clark City Sports Complex 94 days before turnover

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