Athletic Stadium 95% complete 33 days before turnover on August 31st
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.
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.
Photographed by Ed Simon