The redevelopment of the northern side of the MCG between 2002 and 2006 has transformed the stadium and reaffirmed its standing as one of the world's great sporting icons.
About 55 per cent of the ground - embracing the Ponsford and Olympic stands and the MCC Members Pavilion – has been rebuilt. Demolition commenced in October 2002 and the entire project was completed in time for the Commonwealth Games in March 2006, when the MCG acted as the main stadium.
The new stand is an awesome structure. Transparent walls engage approaching patrons as they arrive at three major entry points – Gates 1, 2 and 3. Each entrance features a grand atrium serviced by escalators taking patrons to the upper levels.
Facilities and finishes are superior throughout. The male/female toilet ratio has been significantly improved and, for comfort and ease of access, individual plastic bucket seats are fixed on broader plats.
Sightlines from all seats are uninterrupted and, because the new structure is much closer to the arena than the stands it replaces, spectators are also closer to the action.
Dining room capacity has almost doubled. Large, deep rooms enable tenant sports and clubs to accommodate up to 500 guests and the MCC Members Dining Room has a similar capacity.
Big new changerooms service the needs of both football and cricket and the AFL coaches' box is situated on Level 2 on the wing position, ensuring that facilities for players will also meet the demands of modern-day sporting personnel.
Underground car parking has increased greatly, thus reducing weekday pressure on Yarra Park. Extensive landscaping and a new access road enhance the sense of arrival for visitors to the ground.
Capping the new stand is a hybrid roof, part metal and part glass. This considerably increases the brightness of the seating areas.
A major feature of the redevelopment is the relocation and expansion of the Australian Gallery of Sport as part of the National Sports Museum, a seven-day attraction featuring interactive devices and a museums precinct embracing the history of Australian sport. For more information, visit www.nsm.org.au.
All of the ground's rich heritage has been preserved and display areas boosted significantly. The famous MCC Museum is located adjacent to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame so that there is easy access for tourists to enjoy the artefacts and artworks in both facilities.
The MCC Library, the world's finest repository of sporting literature, will be located on level three but linked directly by escalators to the heritage attractions below.