Many a blood, sweat and tears have been shed at the National Stadium and it will probably invoke in people some of the best and the worst memories of their lives.
This is the ground where famous Fiji sporting names made their mark with many of them going on to make a name for themselves in the international arena.
Opened in 1979, this is also the stadium where Fiji has hosted two South Pacific Games in 1979 and in 2003. Where it also hosted the only ever IRB World Seven Series in 2000 and countless other international tournaments and teams like the Socceroos, the All Whites, the Wallabies, the New Zealand Maoris, Scotland, Wales, England and many other provincial rugby and soccer teams.
All these memories will soon have to make way for new ones as Fiji's famous sporting icon the National Stadium will soon be undergoing a major refurbishment. This will turn the Laucala Bowl into a new and international standard stadium. The last sporting event to be held in the old stadium was held last week, the Coca Cola Games.
The cost of the new stadium is expected to cost the Fiji Sports Council $20 million and works are expected to start sometime later this month. And in revealing the plans to the public for the first time, sports council chairman Peter Mazey says the new stadium will be the first of its kind in Fiji.
"We visited the ANZ Stadium, the old Olympic stadium in Australia and Canberra Stadium and talked with these people because these stadiums have running tracks and studied their set up," Mazey says.
Plans shows that the new stadium will have an increased seating capacity from 15,000 to 25,000 as the grassy embankment will now have concrete seating all the way round.
The old grandstand will be demolished, leaving only the concrete structure, around which the new grandstand will take shape. There will be extensions to both, the front and rear of the grandstand to cater for a bus port and covered walkways for patrons when entering the stadium.
Underneath the grandstand, there will be a huge transformation. The sports council plans to build international standard changing rooms complete with internet access, fax machines, flat screen TV and air-conditioning units. The coaches will have their own separate self contained units. Even the ball boys and referees will have their own rooms.
"These will be luxurious changing rooms and according to international standards," Mazey says.
The ground itself will be according to the International Rugby Board standards and the sports council will be importing a special grass from New Zealand for the turf.
"We had a meeting with the IRB prior to the finalising of the stadium design and whenever there will be a rugby game, the whole track area will be covered up with turf," Mazey says.
The sports council will build another three new international standard football pitches just behind the stadium, where the Bidesi Park is situated.
The drainage works for the whole stadium is going to be state-of-the-art, as the plans reveal that run offs from these grounds will be used again to water their very own turf nursery.
"We want to make the stadium as green as we can by having a water catchment area which will allow us to reuse water that falls onto the turf.
Before the water used to just flow directly into the sea and with the sea level rise, our drainage system was not working well as water kept coming back in whenever there is a high tide."
A new athletics running track will be installed to replace the old one. The old one, which was installed in 2003 will be divided and installed as 100m tracks at Bidesi Park and Lawaqa Park.
"We hope to extend this further around the Western Division to allow sportsmen and women there to use synthetic athletics track," he says.
For the media, there is going to be a huge media control unit room also to be housed underneath the stadium where it can host up to 20 channel coverage during a single sporting event.
Special camera placement podiums will also be built into the stadium to cater for TV broadcast. Mazey says this is one of the expensive refurbishments and it will be done to the tune of $2million.
"Our communications and data concept comes to about $2million and this will cater for the media. When I say media, I mean, TV, radio and other media where the room can seat up to 30 people," he says.
There will be a special event room which will be the control room for the photo finish camera and controlling the time for games too.
In another control room, it will house the video referee as well as the third referee, which will be checking video replays.
There will be three special medical rooms with one earmarked as the doping room, one as a blood bin room and one specifically used to treat injuries.
"These medical rooms are expected to be equivalent to that of a medical room in the hospitals and the blood bin room opens right out to the main arena which provides direct access from the pitch," Mazey says.
New floodlights will be installed with 60 lights per tower instead of the old 40 lights per tower and this will allow more night games.
"It will practically be daylight at night with these lights," Mazey says.
Mazey says that works are expected to take a whole year and there will be six different contracts that will be awarded to construction companies to undertake this major project.
He added that the new stadium will put Suva in a good stead to bid to host international sporting events like the IRB World Sevens Series as well as host big local tournaments like the Marist and Uprising Sevens.
"This is going to be a huge advantage to Suva. Many hotel projects are currently being undertaken, one is the Grand Pacific and the Tanoa Hotel is going to extend soon and the Novotel have done up theirs. Also with the Nausori airport extension, means teams can fly directly into Suva," Mazey says.
And the sports council plans to work with sporting organisations like the Fiji Rugby Union in a bid to bring international sporting events to Fiji.