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Pitching up

A look at sports surfacing projects - from training pitches to specialist surfaces for the disabled

Published in Sports Management 2014 issue 1
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Powerleague expands sports offering

Five-a-side football Lucozade Powerleague is looking to expand its reach in Manchester by offering sports other than football. The company has replaced two indoor 3G football pitches at its Trafford Manchester site with a Taraflex Sport M synthetic sports floor – supplied by Gerflor – in a bid to get more members of the local community playing a wider range of sports. The venue will be know as Powerleague Multisport Arena @ Trafford.

James Price, director of marketing at Powerleague, said: “Lucozade Powerleague has tremendous community reach. We have thousands of teams playing within our facilities every week. We saw an opportunity to engage with other user profiles within our communities and engage them in a positive way by offering a wider range of sports such as badminton, netball and basketball. We’ve worked in partnership with Badminton England to ensure that the facility is suitable as a badminton performance centre and took specification and fit out advice from Gerflor.

"The refurbishment programme was completed on time and on budget largely down to the preparation and planning of the parties involved in the early stages.”

Darren Wood, Taraflex Sport manager said there were three key specification requirements. "Firstly, we had to provide a sports surface that would satisfy national or international sport federation requirements for badminton, netball, basketball, volleyball and encompass a full size futsal court,” he said. “Secondly, programme time and budget had to be hit. Down time costs money and we worked with the client on cost plans to reduce expenditure. Finally, the look had to be bespoke to Powerleague. Over a dozen CAD plans were provided together with samples to get the look and feel just right.”

Lucozade Powerleague currently operates 46 football centres and attracts 1.2m visits per year in the UK.

The operator is looking to attract a wider range of users at the centre
The operator is looking to attract a wider range of users at the centre

Chelsea invests in Cobham training site

White Horse Contractors' association with Barclays Premier League side Chelsea FC has seen renovation works undertaken at the club’s Cobham training ground.

Building on the relationship that the company has enjoyed with the club for more than 15 years, White Horse Contractors were chosen as the contractor of choice for the initial construction of the first team pitches in 2003.

“White Horse built phase one and two and then continued to build the whole training facility,” explained Jason Griffin, Head Groundsman at Chelsea FC. “Each phase gets upgraded every year, and currently, White Horse is in the process of renovating the ‘phase five’ pitches. This involves ten full-size pitches being re-graded, levelled and re-seeded.

Work in progress at Chelsea's Cobham training centre
Work in progress at Chelsea's Cobham training centre

Damilola Taylor Leisure Centre treated to Tigerturf

A Peckham leisure centre has been equipped with a new sports zone as part of efforts to encourage more local adults and children to participate in outdoor activities.

With the previous surface at the Damilola Taylor Centre having reached the end of its natural life, the London Borough of Southwark, which oversees the day-to-day management of the leisure centre, decided to invest in a new system to rejuvenate its sports offering in the local community.

Following a tender issued by Bailey Garner Architects, TigerTurf UK was selected to produce a replacement surface, primarily for football use. The result was the installation of a TigerTurf Soccer Real 60XQ 3G surface, completed by sports surface contractors, Agripower. Boasting FIFA 1 and 2 star accreditation; TigerTurf’s Soccer Real 60XQ is a premier football product which meets the needs of professionals and the community alike.

The third generation synthetic turf system has a 60mm pile height and comprises two unique profiled fibres; part-filled with rubber and sand which enhance the overall playing characteristics Thanks to the blend of two profiled fibres, the system is durable while maintaining the look of a healthy playing surface throughout its entire lifespan. The refurbishment contract also included the installation of replacement fencing and pavements, to ensure the centre can handle a greater number of local residents of the facilities.

The new facility at the Damilola centre
The new facility at the Damilola centre

Chinese Games contested on Polytan surface

The Chinese province of Liaoning held the 12th National Games of the People’s Republic of China from 31 August to 12 September. The largest national sporting event in China saw athletes compete in a total of 350 events across 31 disciplines.

Polytan|STI and its longstanding partner company, C. Melchers & Co, had already begun work back in May on two sports facilities in the port city of Dalian that were used for the National Games. At the Liaoning Maritime Sports School the Polytan|STI team installed two MegaTurf Cool Plus hockey pitches, one of which is certified to FIH Global standards – a first for Polytan|STI in China.

The facility was extended by two Poligras hockey pitches by STI. The FIH Global-certified pitch was used for a variety of events, while the other fields were employed for training. The running tracks were also supplied by Polytan|STI. At the Dalian Sports Center a circular track, a warm-up track and two indoor areas were installed – resulting in nearly 30,000sq m of the Polytan M system being used. The circular track in the main stadium is IAAF Class I-certified.

Following the Games, the new installations have continued to be in regular use: while the hockey pitches are being used by national and international hockey teams for training purposes, the Dalian Sports Center has had a busy schedule of sports events of a wide range.

The installation of both projects had to be completed in just 40 days – a real challenge, given that the Polytan team was faced with adverse weather conditions. Heavy rainfalls and cool temperatures at the start and severe heat waves towards the end of the project meant that the individual steps had to be coordinated as much as possible with the weather forecasts. Another challenge faced by the project management team was the logistics: the two projects were installed simultaneously, but were 50 km apart.

Polytan|STI installed a circular track at Dalian
Polytan|STI installed a circular track at Dalian
One of the new hockey pitches at Liaoning
One of the new hockey pitches at Liaoning
The project was completed in just 40 days
The project was completed in just 40 days

Tennis courts receive new lease of life

The tennis courts at Old Albanian Tennis Club in St Albans in Hertfordshire have received a new lease of life following a Replay Rejuvenation and will now be fit for play for a number of years.
The courts at OA Tennis Club had not been maintained properly since they were laid and were in a state of disrepair.

Following a full site survey, Replay Maintenance was confident that by implementing the correct maintenance programme, even the most heavily affected areas of moss and algae on the surface could be restored to an ‘as new’ condition. At 10 years' old, the tennis courts were suffering the consequences of age, with contaminated material affecting both the aesthetics and the playing properties.

Dark patches were evident right across the courts, highlighting the contamination that was present within the surface infill, while areas of standing water were commonplace after heavy spells of rain, demonstrating the inability to adequately drain. The surface had also become slippery under foot.
The club expected that resurfacing would be the only solution, and were relieved to discover this wasn’t the case after contacting Replay.

The surfaces were restored to an 'as new' level
The surfaces were restored to an 'as new' level

School athletics

British Olympic Heptathlete Denise Lewis has officially opened the new athletics facilities at St Mary’s School, Ascot, Berkshire.

Smith Construction was awarded the £1.4m contract to provide the school with a six-lane, 400m athletics track, complete with associated athletics facilities; an eight-lane 100m sprint straight; pole vault; hammer and discus facility; water jump; shot put and long jump. A full sized hockey pitch to comply with FIH specifications was built within the track, complete with fencing.

 new athletics facilities at St Mary’s School, Ascot, Berkshire
new athletics facilities at St Mary’s School, Ascot, Berkshire
Denise Lewis at the track's launch event
Denise Lewis at the track's launch event

Multisports for an academy

Fulwood Academy in Preston, Lancashire, recently invested £25m in new sports facilities. As part of that, the academy appointed Thornton Sports to provide a full-size artifical football/hockey pitch and a MUGA on site.

Thornton supplied the football pitch with its its SoccerTurf 40M product – a 3rd generation surface that complies with IATS (FIFA I*) and International Hockey Federation (FIH) performance criteria. The surface was chosen due to its adaptability, which allows a range of sports to be played on the pitch. For the MUGA, Thornton chose a porous Polyflex 950/4 polymeric surface – ideal to use for schools and amateur clubs due to its softer surface which helps prevent and reduce injuries.

A SudsPorts conduit system was also installed within the sub-base layer of the MUGA to provide a sustainable, cost-effective combined sports surface and drainage solution. Painted line markings provide opportunities for tennis, netball and basketball while fencing was installed around the perimeter.

The academy has invested £25m in upgrading its sports facilities
The academy has invested £25m in upgrading its sports facilities

Gloucestershire FA invests in artificial turf at Oakland Park

The recent £650,000 upgrade of Gloucestershire FA’s Oakland Park Stadium is already making a difference by allowing tournaments and games to go ahead despite the recent extremely wet weather.

A new synthetic pitch (Soccer Pro 60), manufactured and installed by SIS Pitches, has replaced the previous natural pitch, ensuring the surface can be used throughout the year, whatever the weather. The Soccer Pro 60 surface is made from a Polyethylene monofilament and the surface is tested to 50,000 Lisport cycles and to FIFA star Quality Concept Performance.

The project took SIS 14 weeks to complete and was undertaken with a number of partners, including Pitchbase, Murfitts, Garside Sands, Stauf, J Halliday and Citadel Security.

David Neale, CEO of Gloucestershire FA, said: “The new surface has enabled coaching sessions and matches to be played out in all winds and weathers without the traditional mud-bath effects. During January 2014, when nearly all grass pitches were unfit, the football centre hosted up to 10 football matches each weekend, including multiple adult 11v11 league games."

Frimley CC aims to become centre for visually impaired cricket

One of Surrey’s oldest cricket clubs has invested in a new practice facility that will mark a key step toward it becoming Surrey’s centre for Visually Impaired (VI) cricket. Established in 1820, Frimley CC is based on a public recreation ground in West Surrey, close to the Berkshire and Hampshire borders.

Supplied by total-play, the two-lane, 33m fully-enclosed facility is based on a ECB-approved tp365 system. A 2.4m high security fence and pedestrian access gate completes the basic specification, with bespoke elements including a brightly coloured two-tone carpet, the use of white guide lines on the surface and white batting curtains to help players pick out the ball. Having already won backing from the Surrey Cricket Board, funding for the project was secured from a range of sources including Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey County Council Councillors, The ECB, Lords Taverners, Surrey Cricket Board and Frimley Fuel Allotments Charity; alongside a variety of fundraising efforts within the club.

Frimley CC has been awarded ECB Focus Club status and was named the new home of Surrey’s VI squad, having worked with the Surrey Cricket Board to instigate VI cricket in the county.

Club chair, Gary Dunford, said the club wanted to establish itself as a centre for disability cricket. “It was absolutely vital that we created a safe, secure and flat net facility at Frimley if we were going to develop VI Cricket at the site,” he said.

The pitch will allow club to cater for children with impaired vision
The pitch will allow club to cater for children with impaired vision
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