Costa Rica’s National Stadium is in for a makeover.
In the next two years, it will be demolished and replaced by a bigger,more modern structure with more food stands and parking spaces.
In its latest gift to Costa Rica, China formally agreed last week to fund and build the new stadium in La Sabana Park in western San José, where the old one now sits. If all goes as planned, it will open in 2010.
“It will be a symbol of friendship between our two peoples,” said Chinese Ambassador to Costa Rica Wang Xiaoyuan, after signing an accord with Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno on Friday.
With space for 40,000 people, the stadium will have soccer fields and a track. It will have a modern look, an area for food and souvenirs, and perhaps underground parking spots, said Juan Carlos Bonilla, a press officer at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
And it will be capable of serving as a shelter in case of emergency.
China will bring a team of engineers and specialists to Costa Rica in February to study possible building plans. The Chinese government will choose a Chinese firm to build it, while the workforce will be part Costa Rican.
It will dwarf Costa Rica’s largest existing stadium, the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium in Tibás, north of San José, which holds 21,700 people. The current National Stadium holds 18,000 people and does not fully follow standards set by the International Association of Federation Soccer (FIFA), Bonilla said.
To reduce the red tape that tends to bury construction projects here, Presidency Minister Rodrigo Arias said he will form and lead a committee with representatives from various government ministries.