Northern Ireland

Work begins on £1m Institute stadium upgrade

Ministers turn the first sod at Institute FC
Image caption Ministers turn the first sod at Institute FC

Work is underway on a £1m upgrade to Institute FC's ground in Drumahoe.

The Riverside Stadium is to get a new East Stand with 650 seats, turnstiles, security fencing and CCTV, as well as a new control room, media suite and toilets will also be constructed.

The First Minister Peter Robinson and the Sports Minister Nelson McCausland turned the first sod on Thursday morning.

The improvements will bring the ground's capacity to 3,000.

The work is due to be completed by March 2011.

Peter Robinson said the improvements would provide "safer and more attractive family friendly facilities for fans.

"This in turn will help promote greater participation in sport."

Billy Gillard, a member of Institute's development committee, said the club were delighted the work was underway.

"In terms of comfort and safety we will have one of the best stands around, and that includes good faciltiies for people with disabilities.

"Hopefully this willl enable us to attract more players and more spectators, and it will be good for the Drumahoe area all round."

The Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Eamonn McCartan, said the upgrade would improve the health and safety of spectators.

"This will greatly improve the safety infratructure at the venue, and also ensure that the facilities on offer meet the expectations of spectators in terms of comfort and assessibility."

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