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The redevelopment of the Jakob Frey Stadium in Heidesheim


The redevelopment of the sports ground came a step further to becoming reality after the Rhineland-Palatinate’s Minister of the Interior and for Sport, Karl Peter Bruch, announced the willingness of the state to finance the project while visiting Heidesheim at the invitation of its mayor, Joachim Borrmann. “I decided to come to Heidesheim to see for myself how essential these measures really are. I have to say that this sports facility is one of the most run-down I have viewed to date”, specified the minister and went on to tell Helmut Laux, Chairman of Heidesheim’s Athletics and Sports Association: “You can start ordering the bulldozers for next year!” The state and the local authority will together be providing a total contribution of €500,000 towards the cost of the work. In addition to authorising the necessary funds, it was also important that the minister decided to give preference to the renovation project - the redevelopment of the stadium was at place ten on the regional priority list. The minister went on to say “The decisive factors that convinced me that the refurbishment of this facility should be brought forward was the fact that the state has chosen to conduct this as a pilot project in order to assess the viability of the public-private partnership (PPP) concept in the area of sports facility construction – that and the dilapidated condition of the stadium itself.”

Public-private partnership (PPP)

How exactly did this public-private partnership come into being? The PPP Office of the Ministry of Finance in Rhineland-Palatinate placed the Jakob Frey Stadium renovation project on its short list of potential PPP projects in 2006. The local authority decided in favour of its implementation in the form of a PPP venture in December 2006. The outcome of the early phase review in 2007 was positive, so that a pilot agreement was made between Heidesheim authority and the PPP Competence Centre of Rhineland-Palatinate’s Project Development Agency (PER; Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz mbH). The initial viability study conducted in early 2009 found that there was a definite potential for efficient implementation if the project was to be conducted as a PPP venture. On 19 May 2009, the local authority voted unanimously for realisation of the project as a form of PPP venture and in late September 2009, Heidesheim authority advertised the project in accordance with the construction project tender and contract regulations (VOB/A). As there were detailed enquiries from several interested parties, the deadline for submission of tenders was extended to 18 January 2010. The work commenced in April 2010 and is expected to take seven months. Karl Peter Bruch endorsed the authorisation for funding of the project by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate to the tune of €400,000 on 20 May 2010. Such PPP ventures may well represent the future face of public sector-sponsored construction projects.

The project

Heidesheim’s Athletics and Sports Association will be getting a fully revamped Jakob Frey Stadium. Becker Sportanlagen, based in Taunusstein, has been commissioned to carry out the renovation work. The work on the tracks and the smaller sports field should be completed by late October 2010 and these will be utilisable from this date. Becker Sportanlagen is responsible for the whole project and will be implementing all the planning and preparatory work, through to the installation of its own specially produced surfacing materials. Fixed cost agreements for future maintenance and repairs are already being made. Becker has entered into an undertaking to provide these services for the foreseeable future. As far as the client is concerned, this means that it can look forward to the preservation of the status and performance characteristics of the stadium (by means of the replacement of surfacing materials, for example) without having to worry about unpleasant surprises in the form of unexpectedly high charges by the contractor. The parties have signed an agreement covering the maintenance of the Heidesheim stadium for the next 20 years; one of its provisions specifies that there is to be no refurbishment backlog at the time the contract runs out. A financial comparison of the costs of this pilot PPP venture with those of the standard form of public sector project also shows that the former should come in at up to 6 - 14% cheaper.

The renovation work involves the construction of larger and smaller sports fields that are to have artificial turf and the conversion of the multilane athletics track into a type B track with synthetic surfacing. The existing six lanes are to be supplemented by a seventh shorter lane to relieve the inner lane that takes a lot of punishment from long-distance runners. This should help increase its lifespan.

All the surface materials to be used are produced in-house by Becker Sportanlagen.

The synthetic Ultra Grass Edel Soccer Super Blade 35/6 3/8” is to be used on the larger sports field. This is a water-permeable artificial turf consisting of a straight, monofilament pile with a combined silica sand and rubber granule filling. The monofilament material is made of Xtreme fibres that represent no risk when they come into contact with human skin and provide for high wear resistance, excellent colour fastness and optimal slip characteristics. The pile has a depth of 35 mm. The unusually dense 3/8” artificial turf has a silica sand and green EPDM rubber filling. The rubber granules provide a so-called ‘comfort’ layer so that the surface can be used to play dynamic, physical-contact football. This means that this surface combines all the advantages of synthetic turf with playing conditions and ball roll properties that are almost identical with those associated with natural turf.

The athletics track will be covered by Topsprint surfacing. This is a water-impermeable, double-layer artificial material suitable for light athletics events. Tracks with this high quality surfacing are characterised by their resistance to spikes and their performance-enhancing flexibility.

A surface made of Ultra Grass Edel Elite Sand obscured LSR/NDR will be laid on the smaller playing field. This water-permeable artificial turf has a curled pile made of fibrillated fibre and is partially filled with silica sand. The properties of Ultra Grass Edel Elite Sand obscured LSR/NDR mean that it is particularly suited to use for football and hockey.

Preliminary outlook

In view of the technical specifications outlined by Gebr. Becker Sportanlagen GmbH for the work, the result is likely to be of a very high quality.
Quality assurance and maintenance of performance characteristics are guaranteed by means of quality standard agreements and the imposition of a penalty system.
In our current era of financial uncertainty, the fixed maintenance agreement will ensure that the authority is exposed to less financial risk than it would be if the necessary work had to be put out to public sector tender.
The agreement also ensures that there will be no backlog when it comes to maintenance of the status of the stadium: the artificial surfaces must be renewed every 10 years at the latest. This means that the local authority will not need to carry out extensive renovation work when the agreement runs out; routine maintenance and repair work should be enough to keep the stadium in good shape.
The agreement requires the local authority to make regular payments for maintenance, but the long term upkeep and repair of the facility will be ensured by the PPP concept. It will thus be far into the future before extensive development and spending on this scale become necessary again.

Images: Gebr. Becker Sportanlagen GmbH

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