Arena builders confident of meeting deadlineBy Manolo R. Iñigo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The builders of the 50,000-seat Philippine Arena are confident of completing the billion-peso project by early 2014, the centennial year of Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), owner of the multipurpose complex.
One of the major facilities in the planned city to be known as Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory), the Philippine Arena, which I reported in an exclusive article, could very well be considered the world’s biggest indoor domed coliseum upon completion.
Built on a 75-hectare land located in the municipalities of Bocaue and Sta. Maria, Bulacan, the compound will also house the Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center and the New Era University Sports Complex and Stadium.
Construction of the Philippine Arena and its adjoining facilities will be undertaken by an international team of experienced engineers and contractors composed of leading firms from Korea (Hanhwa Engineering and Construction Co.), United Kingdom (Buro Happold) and Australia (Populous).
Said Kim Hyun-Chung, a top executive of Hanhwa Engineering: “The Philippine Arena is one of the largest indoor arenas in the world. It covers 245 meters in length and 185 meters in width. However, I believe that this prestigious project means more than its size. It is going to be a historical monument of the Iglesia ni Cristo in celebrating 100 years of its history. I’d like to promise that we will do our outmost best to bring success to this project in a timely manner with the highest standard of quality and safety and, of course, most economical.”
Chris Sparrow of UK’s Buro Happold, Engineering Design Consultancy Firm said in a press statement: “This (Philippine Arena) will be a magnificent project that we are going to construct here. In fact, it is twice as big as the biggest indoor arena that we actually designed which is the 02 Arena (20,000 seating capacity) in London. That structure was the largest in Europe. The roof (of the PH Arena) will contain 9,000 tons of steelwork. All the steelwork will be brought here from outside the Philippines, probably from Korea.”
Mr. Sparrow added, “The steelwork will be assembled here on this particular site in bits, and then will be erected… 60 meters up in the air… about 15 stories. The building will be fully air-conditioned. I think it’s a fantastic team that we are involved in, and I really look forward to making this a world-class project.”
On the other hand, Andrew James of Australia’s Populous, Architectural Design Consultancy Firm, said: “The Iglesia ni Cristo wants this to be a green city, so (it will be built with) lots of power plants and recreational places as well. The (Philippine Arena) is probably the most exciting project that we know of in Asia. It’s certainly the largest building of its kind. And the fact that it will be the centerpiece of a new city, new community, makes it one of the largest and most important buildings for the whole Philippines for the next 10 years or more.”
Last Aug. 17, INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo led the groundbreaking ceremony of the site before a big crowd of INC members and government officials headed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Mayors Eduardo Villanueva Jr. and Bartolome Ramos of Bocaue and Sta. Maria, respectively.
When completed, the Arena would serve as a venue for religious, cultural and sporting events and could also help boost the country’s tourism program. The estimated cost of completing the project is around $175 million (roughly P8 billion).
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