The scope of the works involved construction of a full specification natural grass football pitch plus a rugby pitch and a technical area which will be used for training / warm ups.
A 3rd Generation Tiger turf Challenger rubber crumb filled long pile synthetic surface was laid onto an engineered base. This product uniquely allows both football and hockey to be played on the same surface is passed for approval at both FA and IHF levels. Fencing and floodlights were also installed which enable these facilities to be used in the evenings after school and at the weekends.
To ensure that all sports were catered for; two 'MUGA's' were built allowing other sports such as tennis, basketball and netball to be played.
Cricket practice nets and a skateboard facility park and ramps were also constructed completing the overhaul of the college's facilities.
This visionary project, which was brought together by the Shropshire County Council project team, took over seven years of planning. To help ensure the dream became a reality the Council appointed the STRI for the natural sports turf construction specification and MSC for the synthetic works. Jonathan Smith and Colin Corline were appointed by their respective companies to oversee the project.
The site which was on the side of a hill with a variation of over 6 metres from the highest to the lowest points, required over 30000 cubic metres to be cut and filled allowing three separate platforms for the different sports surfaces. This now reduces the variation from one surface to another of only 4 metres.
The specification of the natural grass pitches involved installing drainage into the sub base floor followed by a geo-textile separator. The next step was to lay a 6-2mm size stone carpet to 100mm depth followed by the placement of local topsoil to 200mm depth which had 100mm of imported sand ameliorated through the upper soil profile. In between all these works a full specification irrigation system with in situ sprinklers was installed.
To ensure precipitation was not problematic on the surface, forced sand slits were installed before fertilising and seeding was carried out.
"Trying to strike the right balance between ensuring that the surface was manageable with the budgets available whist still giving as much opportunity for play throughout the year was a challenge." Said the STRI's Jonathan Smith. He continued, "Installing the forced sand slits into a high sand content soil strikes a balance between achieving drainage whist retaining moisture. The objective here was to build high specification pitches which were not only sustainable but also cost effective."
One problem that arose during the construction was the frequent thunderstorms, which occurred not long after the seeding took place. With the natural grass pitches built on a series of plateaus with embankments of 1:4, washout was an issue. The Koro Field Top Maker was utilised to remove the offending material on more than two separate occasions.
The pitches are now growing in nicely under the expert hand of the colleges Grounds staff and it is anticipated the pitches will be ready for play in April 2006.
Having already built many 3rd Generation rubber crumb filled synthetic surfaces it was a first to install Tiger turfs 'Challenger' product, which can be used for both football and hockey.
There is now an answer too many of our prospective clients often asked question - Is there a 3G product which is suitable for football and hockey? Until recently the answer was no, but that void has now been filled.
The tarmac construction 'MUGA's' give the College a tremendous range of different choices of sports, which can be played all year round - whatever the weather.
Being a relatively small community; it is not only the students who are benefiting from this stunning new facility - In the evenings the surfaces are available for hire to the wider community.
Contracts Director William Buxton comments, "once again Kestrel have shown that we have the all round management and in house labour skills to tackle sizable projects and deliver to the clients' satisfaction." Will continues, "The majority of the works have been carried out by our highly skilled workforce. That however is not to belittle the wide range of specialist contractors who we used for specialised works such as the fencing and floodlights."