Glyndŵr University Racecourse stadium will undergo a £300,000 revamp this summer, starting with pitch work on Monday.
The home of Wrexham FC and North Wales Crusaders rugby league team is to be given a major overhaul, including a new pitch and changing rooms for players and officials.
The medical and treatment facilities will also be upgraded, together with improved seating for disabled supporters, better floodlighting and removal of cambers at the ‘Kop’ end of the ground.
The results will see the Racecourse reclassified to Category 3 level, meaning it will be able to host international football matches.
The pitch has been the subject of much speculation all season, but the University can now reveal the extent of the overhaul having secured funding from the Football Association of Wales (FAW), Rugby Football League (RFL), Wrexham FC, Wrexham FC Disabled Supporters Association and the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).
Glyndwr’s Sports Manager Anna Marie Brown said: “We have worked hard over the past year to secure this funding and are thrilled to announce these major improvements will go ahead this summer.
“As well as new changing facilities and better seating for disabled supporters there will be a brand new pitch and improved drainage and irrigation around the stadium.”
She added: “The ground will be closed for two months after work begins next Monday.
“Two of the Crusaders’ rugby league games will be moved to an alternative location but they and the football club are on board with these improvements.
“This will all be completed in time for the beginning of the 2014-15 football season.
“We hope fans of both the rugby and football clubs will be happy with the results and the new surface will contribute to successful futures for both Wrexham FC and the Crusaders.”
Wrexham FC and Glyndŵr University are already enjoying the fruits of the Glyndŵr Wrexham Football Academy, which was launched in March by ambassador and University Fellow, Michael Owen.
The Academy has already attracted players from across the Football League, including the Championship, and was welcomed by the Dragons’ new manager Kevin Wilkin.
The stadium was also in the news earlier this year, as the maximum number of supporters allowed on a match day rose to 10,771 from 9250 following an investment by the University to improve safety facilities.
Improvements carried out in the last 12 months include better access for disabled spectators for match refreshments, replacement of old TV monitors under the stands, an upgrade of barriers and emergency lighting within stands and the decorating of corporate areas, whilst also working with Wrexham FC to provide a new club shop.
Wrexham FC director Alan Watkin paid tribute to the University and believes the renovations show that both the football club and Glyndŵr are committed to the future of the stadium.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Glyndŵr University to secure this external funding,” he said.
“This is excellent news for the club, for our new manager who will be able to use a new pitch conducive to playing the ‘Wrexham style’ of football, and to all of us as fans.
“There will also be better facilities for our disabled supporters, enhanced floodlighting and dressing rooms which once again will be of an international standard.”
Leader of Wrexham council, Cllr Neil Rogers, added: “This is fantastic news for the world’s oldest international stadium that is still hosting international matches. In recent years we’ve seen the Racecourse host both international football, as well as matches at the Rugby League World Cup 2013. These improvements will ensure that the town continues to attract this calibre of events in the future.”
Work will begin on the pitch this Monday, with Wrexham.com raising a query with the University back when plans were first revealed about the situation with those whos loved ones had their ashes scattered on the pitch.
Today’s information says Glyndŵr University and Wrexham FC plan to lay a plaque beside the new surface when it is completed, as a lasting memorial to those men and women whose ashes were scattered at the stadium.
Any family, friends or relatives who wish to pay their respects and visit the ground over the coming days can contact Glyndwr’s Sports Manager Anna Marie Brown on 01978 293420 or Stadium Operations Manager Phil Bennett on 01978 293991.