EXCLUSIVE We reveal the transformation that's in store for Hampden to get it ready to host athletics events BRING ON THE 2014 GAMES

IT'S Hampden Park as you have never seen it before.

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As these exclusive pictures reveal far reaching plans are being considered as the arena prepares to play a key role in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Scotland's National Stadium will be a major venue for the Games and will host the athletics competition in July 2014.

Games bosses say plans to add an extension to the existing North Stand concourse will provide facilities that will bring an "uplift in spectator comfort."

And they believe it will also leave a permanent legacy for the improved operation of Hampden.

The first floor extension will create wheelchair accessible facilities, including lifts, toilets and catering outlets, and an additional spectator concourse area, catering kiosks and toilets will also be provided.

The design will create a new image for the northern side of the stadium.

It is expected the catering proposals will extend to include the East Stand, with the area under the West Stand upgraded to provide storage space.

Work is expected to start in late 2012 and be completed by mid 2013.

Next door, Lesser Hampden will be transformed to create a warm-up venue for track and field athletes.

This will include the creation of a temporary four-lane running track and six-lane straight, together with a practice areas for jumps, providing athletes with a high-quality environment to prepare for the main events.

The current pitch will be removed and the boundaries of Lesser Hampden extended to accommodate the warm-up facilities.

This will involve some earthworks and a slight realignment of neighbouring Letherby Drive.

New floodlights will also be installed, that will be retained after the games.

Queen's Park Football Club's temporary social and administrative accommodation will also be removed.

Planning permission has already been granted for a new permanent clubhouse and construction is expected to start soon.

Once the Games have finished, Lesser Hampden will be returned to football use with a new FIFA 2 Grade synthetic pitch and new terracing, complementing Queen's Park Football Club's new clubhouse.

Work will begin in late 2013 with the new track being installed in early 2014.

In preparation for the Games, Glasgow 2014 Ltd and Hampden Park Ltd will be submitting planning applications for the upgrades.

Today and tomorrow, they will be holding public exhibitions at the stadium providing details of two forthcoming planning applications – for the extension to Hampden Park's North Stand Concourse and for the installation of the temporary athletics track at Lesser Hampden.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 said: "We are undertaking public consultations as part of our preparations to transform temporarily Hampden into a world-class athletics venue.

"Along with Queen's Park Football Club we look forward to sharing our proposals with the local community and to hearing their thoughts.

"This is an exciting part of the journey towards the delivery of an outstanding Games for Glasgow and Scotland."

ewan.fergus@ eveningtimes.co.uk




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