Work to begin on new sports complex

Work on Haifa's planned new $150 million sports complex is expected to begin in April, and the British architects who are designing the stadium say it will be "the best in Europe," reports A team from the KSS architectural firm visited Israel from London last week, and held a "marathon" round of talks with officials from the Haifa Economic Company to discuss the final details of the massive project. According to the report, KSS has designed some of Britain's most outstanding sports complexes, including the Tottenham Hotspur Training Center, the Brighton community stadium, Chelsea Village, the Crystal Palace Park sports center in London and the Leeds United soccer club center, as well as the Estadio Municipal in Coimbra, Portugal. And now it has designed a sports complex for Haifa, planning it both to blend into the environment and to be comfortable for women and children. "A (soccer) stadium generally is not a friendly place for women," KSS chairman David Keirle said. "It is an aggressive place, with a lot of men, noise and crowding… the aim is to turn the stadium into a family place, so that women and children can feel safe and come to games." Keirle said that among the measures being taken would be wider and more comfortable seats for spectators at games, more and cleaner toilet facilities for women than are usually found in sports stadiums, and healthier, tastier foods for sale in the restaurants. The report said the Haifa stadium is being planned as environmentally friendly, with an acoustic ceiling and special sound system to prevent noise from erupting into the neighborhood, and concealed lighting to prevent disturbances to surrounding residents and drivers. Groundwork is expected to begin in April, and the project is slated for completion within two years. "I can say with confidence that the Haifa stadium will be the best in Europe," Keirle said.