The Sammy Ofer Stadium is the first fully enclosed, multi-purpose football stadium to be built in Israel (2014).
The Haifa Economic Corporation (HEC) commissioned its design and build by KSS, in conjunction with local architects Mansfeld Kehat, for ownership by the municipality. Local teams Hapoel Haifa and Maccabi Haifa use the facility for derby matches, but both European and International fixtures are also held at the stadium.
Haifa’s Mediterranean climate poses its own challenges to the successful establishment and management of a natural turf pitch, in addition to microclimatic issues within the enclosed stadium. With an annual average temperature of 21°C and 525mm of rain, Haifa is suited to the growth of both warm and cool season grasses.
Following concerns over how well the pitch was performing during recent fixtures, STRI undertook an analysis of the surface and produced a report to identify the difficulties of managing this enclosed stadia in the local environmental conditions and climate.
The work included:
A visit by senior STRI consultant, Dr Ian McClements, who observed play during an Israeli Premier League match between the two local teams. He subsequently undertook a full analysis of current stadia condition in order to establish the reasons for poor surface performance, including:
- An objective review of the current condition of the pitch before and after the match
- A full evaluation of the pitch construction materials and techniques
- A preliminary assessment of local environmental conditions
- Resources available for pitch management
- A review of the fixture scheduling and proposed usage
In order to develop a roadmap for future pitch improvements, it was deemed necessary to take into consideration all environmental constraints to satisfy pitch fixtures and identify short, medium and longer-term objectives for pitch sustainability.
Based on our knowledge of the venue and previous experience of designing, installing and maintaining hybrid synthetic/natural turf systems in the Middle East, STRI developed a pitch renewal design which included two proprietary systems.
The work involved:
- Preliminary pitch appraisal
- Recommendations for pitch redevelopment
- Preparation of specification, drawings and bills for tendering purposes
- Tendering process
- Tender review and recommendations on contract appointment
- Site monitoring of pitch during construction works and reporting to client
- Attendance at progress meetings with client and contractor
- Laboratory testing and approval of pitch construction materials
- Contract administration including processing of valuations and issuing of payment certificates
- Monitoring of pitch during establishment period Rectification of defects
The new pitch has now been in use for over a year and has successfully hosted all its events without incident, including a major concert in June 2017.