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£14.7m revamp for Ulster Rugby stadium

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Ulster Rugby has secured £14.7m for the redevelopment of Ravenhill rugby grounds, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has agreed to provide the funding and it is expected that the redevelopment works will be complete by Summer 2014.

Three new stands will be built at the grounds that will see the capacity rise from 11,400 to 18,000.

Northern Ireland contractor, Gilbert Ash, will carry out the construction with the first phase expected to be complete by June 2013.

The first phase features two new stands at the Memorial and Aquinas ends of the grounds.

The new Memorial End stand will provide covered seating for approximately 2,400 people with terracing for a further 1,350 fans.

It will house a ticket office, a shop, a catering facilities and a new educational facility. The educational facility will promote the benefits of nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and the values of sport.

The Aquinas stand will be the new family area of the ground. It will provide covered seating for 2,100 people with terracing for a further 1,300 fans.

It will house new team changing facilities, treatment rooms, an indoor training surface as well as matchday media facilities. It will also become the Ulster senior squad's new training base with a gym, meeting rooms and facilities.

The second phase will see the demolition of the existing main stand and the construction of a replacement grandstand built to accommodate 3,450-seated spectators with the new promenade providing standing for approximately 3,400 fans.

With the increased number of spectators the rugby grounds will be capable of holding a Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan said: "This investment will create a modern, state-of-the-art stadium with the highest standard of facilities for both supporters and players.

"The new Ravenhill will enhance the position of Ulster Rugby in the world game and will greatly benefit the development of rugby in the province."

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Ulster Rugby has secured £14.7m for the redevelopment of Ravenhill rugby grounds, Belfast, Northern Ireland.