Southport have confirmed that the proposed renovation work on the Merseyrail Community Stadium has started.
As confirmed in late April, the Main Stand seating will be replaced to accommodate the Old Gold colour scheme, the building interior will be redecorated and refurbished, and the Main Stand roof, press box and dugouts will all be replaced.
The club expects this first phase of work to be completed ahead of the start of the 2018/19 season.
In addition to the known asbestos issues, the club was forced to move back the start date after reports of wildlife habitation (i.e. bats and birds) were received. After complying with industry standard checks, they confirm ‘none of our feathered or nocturnal friends have taken up residence at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.’
This delay does, however, mean the club has decided to move back the planned pitch renovation works to the 2019/20 pre-season. Starting the pitch works from today would not give the pitch enough time to recover ahead of the season. Additionally, the considerable work of relaying the pitch drainage systems will also be less disruptive next season, once initial stadium works have been completed, as well as reducing costs.
The board again stresses that the full stadium vision has not changed from the designs presented to supporters in March and that by the time the Main Stand opens for pre-season, a large number of cosmetic and functional upgrades will have been installed.
The current stadium redevelopment is the most significant ground refurbishment work conducted at Southport FC for decades, but at the same time this schedule ensures that plans for success, both on and off the pitch, are not jeopardised by the construction.