In November 2012 £14 million of funding was secured from DCAL to redevelop the grounds. Construction work started immediately and was completed in 2014 with the official opening taking place on May 2nd 2014.
The new development, which was over seen by the main contractor Gilbert-Ash, saw the capacity of the stadium rise from 11,400 to 18,000. Three new stands the Memorial, the Aquinas and the Grand Stand all of which offer both covered and terrace seating where constructed in two phases. The Memorial and the Aquinas developments contain between them a ticket office, a shop, new bar/catering facilities, an educational centre, new team changing facilities, treatments rooms, a state of the art gym, meeting rooms, new facilities for management and coaching teams, an indoor training surface as well as match day media facilities.
The old main stand was demolished to make way for new Grand Stand which includes a new bar and restaurant. The development also saw the construction of a Nevin Spencer Education and Heritage Centre, new facilities for photographers and general stores for the grounds team. Access to the sight was also improved upon.
Gilbert-Ash worked with partners Hamilton Architects who designed the initial concept for the work and Holmes Miller who provided the architectural services for the project. Kingspan Insulation was spec’d in quite a number of areas within the design. The project features 2,150 M² of Therma TW50 partial fill cavity wall insulation and 3,214 M² of Therma TF70 insulation which is for solid concrete and suspended ground floors. It also features 52M² of Kooltherm K8 cavity board partial fill cavity wall insulation and 6,405 M² of Kooltherm K10 soffit board insulation for structural ceilings.
Ulster Rugby announced earlier this year that the Ravenhill grounds will be renamed Kingspan Stadium following the signing of a 10-year agreement with Kingspan Group whose global headquarters are in Kingscourt in Co.Cavan.
Pat Freeman, Managing Director of Kingspan Environmental said: “Both Ulster Rugby and Kingspan are successful globally recognised brands within their respective fields.
We have been a partner of Ulster Rugby for 15 years and have witnessed the tremendous growth of rugby in the Province. We have also had extensive input into the redevelopment of the stadium through our high performance technologies.
We are delighted to significantly extend our already strong association with Ulster rugby by putting our name to such a wonderful sporting venue and are proud that the home of Ulster rugby will be now known as Kingspan Stadium.”