Arena to be ‘game-changer’ for Eagles basketball club
Reporter A “GAME-CHANGING” development for Newcastle’s West End is set to open in the new year.
Work has nearly finished on Newcastle Eagles’ new 2,800-seat stadium off Scotswood Road in Elswick – and January 11 has been announced as the official launch date.
As well as giving the basketball team their own home for the first time, the venue will also provide a facility for schools and junior clubs, as well as hosting tournaments and events.
Newcastle Eagles owner Paul Blake said the club takes charge of the site on December 21 and is gearing up for the first official league game there on January 11.
“We have moved the Plymouth Raiders league clash to January 11 to tie in with the official opening of the arena,” he said.
“We will have the keys to the venue before Christmas but we want to make sure everything is perfect for the players and our fans when we do move in.”
With building work completed and seats being installed, finishing touches over the next few weeks include digital displays, the reception area, cafe, club shop and kitchen.
The changing rooms and gym are also nearing completion.
Unanimous planning approval was granted for the arena – on the site of the former Riverside Dene tower blocks – last year.
The Eagles want the arena to be a facility for the whole community. They say they can open up the court for 158 hours a week, and provide access to the gym.
The first team will only need the entire arena for few hours a week during the basketball season. It will also be used for volleyball, handball, netball and disabled basketball.
In partnership with Newcastle College, students will have access and the new facility will create jobs in a range of sectors including catering, coaching and facility management.
“A significant amount of different users is the key to the building,” Paul said.
“At this stage it’s really exciting – every day you go in and something else has happened.
“I’m really happy with the design and the quality of the build – I think it’s going to look absolutely amazing.
“It’s going to be a gamechanger for the club, the foundation and the area.
“We’re keen to make sure we get as many people down to see the building and hopefully take part in the events over the next few years because they’ll be many and varied.”
Eagles owner Paul Blake in the new arena, just off Scotswood Road in Newcastle, inset