The basketball players of Polonia Warszawa, returning to the Ekstraklasa after 21 years, will play as a host in Wilanów. The male band “Black Shirts”, which started the project of returning to the elite, will play in the Koło hall or Arena Ursynów. The planned facility at Konwiktorska Street will not meet the requirements of the Polish Basketball Association if Polish players are promoted to the highest level of the competition. That is why the Polish community demands changes in the architectural concept.
Therefore, the “Hala dla Polonii” campaign was launched at the end of September. The aim of the initiative is to modify the plans for the expansion of the complex at 6 Konwiktorska Street so that the new sports hall meets the requirements of Polish league games. The reborn male Polonia team, which after five years returned to the central level of the games and started the fight to return to the highest level in the second league, cannot play in its facility today. The ambitious plans include returning to the league within two years.
The greatest problem with this project is the infrastructural deficiencies. The current room at ul. Konwiktorska does not even meet the requirements of the second league. For the 2021/22 season, the basketball players of “Black Shirts” will play in the Koło hall, instead of in their lair in Nowe Miasto.
Too little capacity of the stands
The plans to expand the complex are causing anxiety, not only among the Polish language teachers. According to the current concept, the hall would have a capacity of only 1200-1300 seats (the results of the 2019 architectural competition did not cause any noticeable protests). A facility of this size does not meet the licensing requirements of the Polish Basketball League for men. For several years, the federation’s regulations stipulate that in order to be unconditionally admitted to the league matches, the facility must have stands with at least 2,000 seats.
– The construction of a sports hall not adapted to the requirements of the men’s league would be a blow to the project of rebuilding men’s basketball. When a team is promoted to the highest league, it may turn out that it will not be able to use the hall intended for it by default. This is absurd. It may doom the project of rebuilding the club to destruction – points out Kamil Czarzasty from the Foundation for Cultivating the Tradition of Polish Basketball Players in Warsaw, one of the organizers of the campaign.
The Polish Basketball League may grant individual consent to play in a hall that can seat between 1,200 and 2,000 spectators, but the trend is reversed. Today, only individual teams play in conditionally admitted venues, usually with the prospect of playing in much larger venues. This is the case in Bydgoszcz or Gliwice. A new hall in Radom will be put into use soon.
They say there are no obstacles
The representatives of the initiative emphasize that there are no formal contraindications for expanding the hall. The recommendations of the provincial inspector of monuments indicate the only limitation the height of the hall – up to 16 meters, which was later reduced to “approx. 16 meters”. Therefore, there are no obstacles for the planned hall to have a larger building area than it would result from the city guidelines.
According to the initiators of the “Hala dla Polonii” campaign, with good will, there is a chance even for the construction of a facility with a capacity of up to 3,000 places. Such as in Ostrów Wielkopolski.
The campaign was supported by the Polish Basketball Association. “We strongly urge you to build a hall that meets the requirements of the Polish Basketball League for men. We believe that such a facility will serve the basketball players of the Polish community in Warsaw for years, as well as the basketball community of the capital city” – wrote the president of PZKosz Radosław Piesiewicz to the mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski and vice-president the capital of Renata Kaznowska.
It was also emphasized that the league may waive conditional consents to play in halls with less than 2,000 seats in the coming years.
There is no contract for the project yet
Representatives of the Foundation for Cultivating the Tradition of Polish Basketball Players in Warsaw point out that now is a good time to modify the original assumptions. The city has not yet signed a contract with the authors of the winning concept, JSK Architekci, for the development of an architectural design.
In the middle of the year, Vice President Kaznowska said that the stadium and the accompanying facilities are to be established as part of a public-private partnership, and the city is willing to spend PLN 114 million for this purpose. Gregoire Nitot, president of the IT company Sii, owner of the club, also declared his willingness to participate in the investment. The entire complex is to cost around PLN 400 million, but these are estimates from two years ago, and since then the prices of many materials have gone up.
– We are extremely pleased with the city’s declaration, President Trzaskowski and President Kaznowska, regarding the acceleration of the revitalization of the facilities at Konwiktorska 6 Street. The men’s league has an audience of 2000 people. We want the hall to be home to basketball players, basketball players and young people. Therefore, we are calling for this project to be changed, as there is still time for it and to increase the capacity of the facility. 2.5 thousand places is another level required in European competitions. I know that it will be possible to work it out with good will – told PAP Jakub Górski, chairman of the supervisory board of KKS Polonia Warszawa Sp. z o. o
Main photo source: UM