12:32 01 May 2012
Facts and figures of the Liberty
Swansea's rich sporting history and heritage is embedded deeply within the community.
Swansea City Football Club can trace the use of their Vetch Field ground back to 1911 when they played on a 'clinker' surface, as a result of the ground being the site of the former coal store for the local gas works.
The sports ground was shoehorned in between terraced housing, with the stands overlooked by a Territorial Army depot and Swansea Prison. By 2004, the once record attendance of nearly 33,000 had been reduced to an official capacity of nearer 11,000.
The condition of the ground was deteriorating rapidly and the West Stand roof had been removed for safety reasons with the remaining main terrace acting as a roof for the lower tier.
The Vetch Field was no longer an acceptable venue.
Swansea Rugby Club, the 'All Whites', played at their famous St Helen's ground, a mile or so down the road from the Vetch.
However, by the late 20th Century, St Helens was no longer a suitable venue for major rugby events.
With the Swans looking to relocate for too many years to remember; the All Whites combining with Neath RFC to form the regional side the Ospreys; and Swansea City Council determined to secure a nationally important sports stadium capable of accommodating both local and international events; the Liberty Stadium was born.
The brief was concise, but the reality of the situation was a far cry from this. Neither the rugby or football clubs had enough money to invest in new facilities themselves. Swansea Council also didn't have capital to invest in the venture, but it did have one key asset - it owned the proposed site.
This was the home of the Morfa Athletics Stadium and adjacent playing fields, a couple of miles outside the city centre.
The council's solution was to include additional land in the development to create the potential for a major mixed-use retail and leisure development opportunity. The council invited a developer-led consortia to submit a proposal for a sustainable 'bowl' venue for 20,520 seats on a site to the west of the river, funded by 355,000ft retail park on land to the east of the river. The final value of the development being in excess of £50m. Construction commenced in the autumn of 2003 with the opening game taking place in the stadium between Swansea and Fulham on 23rd July, 2005.
Swansea now has a world-class multi-use sporting venue to be proud of and hosted its first international between Wales and Slovenia, on 17th August, 2005.
It is now also the new home for the Ospreys regional rugby team.
With the Liberty Stadium home to both professional football and rugby, the pitch construction had to be carefully planned to allow it to cope with the high impact events of both codes.
And it is also what is contained within the pitch that makes it truly special.
The pitch is made up of different layers which all help the durability necessary for a pitch.
There is a state of the heart drainage system and under-soil heating, while there are approximately 20 million artificial grass fibres sewn into the pitch to increase its durability.
Visit the official Liberty Stadium website www.liberty-stadium.com
Things you didn't know about the Liberty Stadium
*There are 1,450 pre-cast concrete piles in the ground.
*If you laid out all the piles end to end, it would stretch almost 13 miles - approximately from Swansea to Port Talbot.
*There is approximately 150 tonnes of reinforcement in the foundations.
*Within the building and foundations there are more than 4,800 cubic metres of concrete, which were delivered to site by lorries.
*There are over 8,500 linear metres of formwork in the ground for foundations.
*There has been 24,000 cubic metres of excavated material.
*There is over 18,000 cubic metres of imported fill onsite.
*The surface area beneath the Stadium is a massive 26,662m2 or 6½ acres.
*The upper floors and roof structure will be supported by 2,500 tonnes of structural steelwork, which is equal to the weight of 300 average sized African elephants or 1,400 Ford Focus cars.
*There are approximately 2,500 holding down bolts fixing 460 steel columns.
*The overall area of blockwork forming the internal and external walls amounts to 27,500m2 or 300,000 blocks.
*There are over 420 doors throughout the stadium.
*There are 26 sets of stairs.
*There are 12 lifts.
*There are 30 number turnstiles.
*There are 250 WC's.
*There are 200 wash hand basins.
*There are 5,000 light fittings.
*There are over 10,000 tress and shrubs in the landscaped areas.
*The pitch contains 10.1 million metres of 'Desso' nylon inserts.