It’s been a summer of change at Turf Moor.
However, unforeseen issues have cause significant delays to the new facilities for disabled supporters under the Accessible Stadium Guide (ASG).
The multi-million-pound project to provide a number of elevated platforms for wheelchair access in two corners of the stadium, between the Jimmy McIlroy stand and both the James Hargreaves and Bob Lord stands, has been beset by “unprecedented problems”.
A visual of the new facility in the North East corner
As such, the build is now approximately three months behind schedule, as Stadium and Operations Manager Doug Metcalfe explained.
He said: “Unfortunately, we are a long way behind where we would have like to have been at this stage.
“The idea was to be close to completion by the start of the season in both corners but, unfortunately, we have had unprecedented problems below ground and we’ve not been able to get out of the ground yet.
“We are in a position now where we feel a lot more confident of getting the programme up to speed and seeing some tangible progress.
“In the next few weeks fans will see the steel frame in both corners coming out of the ground, but I think it’s fair to say that all the design team and contractor have never come across so many difficulties and obstacles.
“This is an old open cast mining site and even though we had ground condition tests done, the things that we’ve found have not even been detected by these surveys, such as culverts that run through the site, underground services that we’ve found and problems with the old stands that we have inherited.
“It has been a full raft of difficulties, but we have committed to this project and we will deliver it and be very proud of the facilities once they are built.”
A visual of the new facility in the South East corner
Fans arriving at Turf Moor for Sunday’s friendly with Montpellier will therefore see very little visual progress since the excavation works began at the end of the 2017/18 season.
All disabled supporters have been contacted and offered alternative locations until the new facility is ready for use later this year.
Doug confirmed: “The programme is looking likely to be complete by November, so we are some way behind.
“However, it is really important that we still facilitate our disabled supporters, so we will make sure they are accommodated in the meantime.
“We have a raised platform in the Jimmy McIlroy stand that will be part of the permanent solution.
“That will be ready for the start of the Premier League season, and we will try to phase in the developments over the coming weeks leading up to November, so we can introduce our supporters to the new facilities.”
Following this build, a dedicated indoor ticket office waiting area will be constructed to complement the existing building and replace the temporary canopy that is currently in situ.
Other projects taking place at Turf Moor this summer will see a new-look main entrance to the Bob Lord Stand on Harry Potts Way, the relocation of the visitors’ dressing room and a new extended corporate lounge within the Bob Lord Stand.
The free video above outlines all the new changes.