Arena to be ‘game-changer’ for Ea­gles bas­ket­ball club

Sunday Sun - - News - By Katie Dick­in­son katie.dick­in­[email protected]­plc.com @KatieJDick­in­son

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

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