Stadion RKS Skra in the Polish capital of Warsaw is set for major renovation work after falling into disrepair in recent years.

The stadium, which opened in 1953 and has a capacity of 35,000, was used to host a range of sports, including football, rugby and athletics. A 13-year legal battle over the ownership of the venue has led to the site being neglected but plans have now been put in place to breathe new life into the facility.

The City of Warsaw has begun preparing the site for renovation work and negotiations on the terms of an architectural contract will begin soon. PLN25m (£4.8m/€5.6m/$6.8m) has been reserved in the city’s budget for initial implementation and construction works, and the overall cost of the stadium project is estimated to be between PLN300m and PLN400m.

Renata Kaznowska, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, said: “We are starting to restore the splendour to the Skra complex. This new beginning is also the end of a long-term – due to the duration and degree of the city’s determination – battle for the recovery of Skra, in which I have been personally involved since the beginning of my work as Deputy Mayor.”

The green light to restore the stadium site was given in January after a court ruled that the RKS Skra Association hand over the land to the city. A bailiff’s intervention was still required to recover the 20 hectares of the land and this has now arrived.

The city was handed the keys to the site earlier this month, with management having been assumed by the Active Warsaw Sports Centre.

In a statement confirming its plans for the venue, the City of Warsaw said that the entire complex is currently out of use as facilities are in danger of collapsing and present a danger for athletes or locals wishing to use the premises. The design stage of the renovation process is set to last no longer than 15 months.

“As a city, we have performed all possible legal actions that allow us to start restoring the Skra sports complex to its well-deserved and expected shape and destination,” Kaznowska added. “We have secured funds for the first stage of the modernisation of the complex and for the cleaning work that we are currently dealing with.”

Initial plans for the stadium complex include a training venue and a ‘sport zone’ to connect the nearby park to the site. A running track and outdoor gyms are included in the park, while in the winter it will host tobogganing, cross-country skiing and ice skating.

It is hoped that athletes will be able to use a field on the stadium site later in the year, once it has been cleared of dangerous objects such as protruding rods and nails. By mid-2022, it is planned that areas formerly occupied by swimming pools will be made available to locals as ‘open spaces’.

Reconstruction of the stadium itself will be the ultimate goal. The City of Warsaw has said the facility is currently in danger of a “construction disaster” and will remain securely fenced off until renovation work can begin. The city added that the cost of construction work will only be finalised once design documentations have been prepared and a contractor has been signed.

Image: City of Warsaw