Construction has began on the site of St Helens new stadium after the construction contract was awarded to building contractor, Barr Construction.
Saints are set to leave Knowsley Road at the end of the season and will play games up the road at Widnes’ Stobart Stadium until the new 18,000 capacity stadium is complete.
Chairman Eamonn McManus said: “This is an incredibly proud day for me as chairman of this great club. Our supporters will now see their club’s new home rise out of this site. This stadium is fitting for a club of the tradition of Saints but it also signals a new era for us and demonstrates that we are a forward looking club with our eyes fixed on the next generation of great Saints supporters and players.”
The stadium will sit on the former United Glass site and will also include a large Tesco Extra store and in total the site will generate 1,400 new employment opportunities.
Confirmation of the construction contract, which was first tendered in June 2009, ends a wait of more than a decade for dreams of a new stadium to become a reality for one of the most successful clubs in the Super League era.
St Helens Council leader Marie Rimmer said: “The rugby club first came to the Council in 1998 to ask us to work with them to deliver a state of the art stadium. Since then we have been working closely with the club and Langtree to bring this dream to fruition. This announcement is tremendous news. Finally we will be able to see the stadium take shape offering fitting facilities for our world class club. It is a proud moment for the club and the Council and a historic landmark in the history of the borough.”
The stadium will host a major community facility to be used by young people for recreational activities, a key part of the council’s forthcoming Youth Strategy report. Its corporate hospitality features and meeting rooms will also generate extra revenue streams for Saints.
Managing director of development partner Langtree, John Downes, said: “The letting of the contract is the final part of the process and people will now see construction activity begin on site.”