St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Grounds St George's Park - View Well Worth the Climb on 110-step Temporary Pavilion
View Well Worth the Climb on 110-step Temporary Pavilion
Francois Rank

Breath-taking views took on a whole new meaning when you reached the top of the temporary stand at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.

Standing 20,8 metres high - the equivalent of a six storey building - the new stand, built specifically for the Cricket World Cup, weighed a hefty 190 tons and would accommodate an extra 3,567 people.

Click image to enlarge
The temprary stand under construction.

So players were not the only ones who needed to be in peak physical condition for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Spectators who bought tickets for the temporary stand had to get in shape if they wanted to make it up the 110 steps to the top of the stand. The climb was bound to at least double your heart rate!

But the view once you got up there was worth it.

Despite the panoramic sight of the ocean behind you, the stands offered unsurpassed views of the pitch.

Spectators could also see the entire field without having to move their heads more than a few millimetres - the equivalent of sitting on the halfway line at a rugby match.

Click image to enlarge
The completed temporary stand.

But those afraid of heights were warned, climbing the R700 000 structure would be a traumatic experience.

The addition to the architecture at St George’s Park raised some concern surrounding the safety of the spectators who would be using it that month.

And those concerns were further fuelled when a young woman was struck on the head by a spanner which was dropped by a worker from the top of the stand.

One of the main concerns was how stable the structure would be. BKS Structural Engineering manager and structural expert Esias Koen said the design used for the stands had been used effectively at many other events.

“The method of structure has been widely used for rock concerts, political functions and major games for many years“ he said.

“It has proved to be safe and is designed by competent consulting engineers, Arup Engineers. No sway or movement of the structure is tolerated.”

The stand was made from tube and fittings and 3 400 bolts were used as well as 30 000 metres of tubing and 50 tons of interlocking steel stepping plates. Mr Esias also said that the stand met all SABS design standards.

The engineering company ensured that the structure was able to withstand the weight of a full load of spectators, thanks to an intricate system of bracing.

“The legs of the stand are designed to distribute a load of two kilo newtons per leg on to the ground from the fully loaded stand.

“All legs are linked, braced and secured using bolts and fittings,” Mr Esias said.

Spectators were also protected from falling over the side or the back of the stand by handrails and a shade cloth. The shade cloth was also to prevent spectators entering from the underside of the stand and would stop falling objects such as cans.

The structural safety measures were checked and re-checked to eliminate error before the World Cup started.

“A detailed quality assurance and checking process by both the contractors, supervisors, engineers and the disaster managers will ensure that each element is checked, certified and signed-off,” Mr Koen said.

Weekend Post,
February 8, 2003.

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