Staff and students at a Yorkshire school have finally achieved the all-weather sports facility they have been craving for years, thanks to the specialist support of leading synthetic surfacing supplier Notts Sport.
The old redgra-shale pitch at Harrogate Grammar School dated back to the mid-1970s and for over a decade the school was desperate to bring its facilities up-to-date. For a long time, however, planning difficulties stood in the way of this dream - until Notts Sport came on board.
Notts Sport's unrivalled range of sports surfacing solutions and its unique free Design and Advisory Service meant the school not only achieved its ambition to install a top-notch synthetic turf pitch (STP), but also received all the expert help it needed to win planning permission for the scheme.
The brand new facility for hockey, football, rugby training and track and field athletics is now complete - and youngsters at the school are taking full advantage.
School finance director Steve Howell explains: "We've been very pleased with the service we've received and I've no hesitation in giving Notts Sport a warm recommendation.
"They were very patient and invested a lot of time, consultancy and energy assisting us from the early stages of the project, helping us to overcome planning objections which had stymied us for 15 years.
"There was a real drive for the school to deliver this project for the students - and Notts Sport was pivotal to the success of that."
Planning permission was the main hurdle for the school to overcome because of the proximity of houses to the application site, but Notts Sport was able to help with public consultation and liaise with the local planning authority to ensure the process of securing approval for the bespoke facility was as straightforward as possible.
Notts Sport also provided the design and technical aspects of the project, in parallel with the school's Grounds 4 Success campaign to galvanise parents to support fundraising initiatives.
Notts Sport's approved contractor Ray Skelton Ltd carried out the installation of the STP, and the work also involved recycling the excavated redgra surface being re-used to level off the existing natural turf rugby pitch at the school, minimising the environmental implications of disposing waste at landfill.
Over 27 years Notts Sport has developed its expertise in the design of redgra conversions and Harrogate Grammar School is the latest customer to benefit from this unique approach.
The school now has a fully-fenced 101.4m x 63m artificial turf multi-sport pitch, which is FIH (International Hockey Federation) compliant and delivers performance for football, as well as supporting rugby training and athletics and recreational tennis. There's also a sprint extension to allow a 100m straight to be marked out, while long jump and triple jump pits have also been installed.
Steve comments: "The old shale pitch was becoming unplayable - it was dusty, no good in bad weather, full of divots and so uneven that the hockey balls wouldn't run straight. It really wasn't fit for purpose.
"Notts Sport has given us a modern upgrade which is being used daily by the students - and staff have played on it too. We're all delighted with it."
Shaun Patrick, chairman of Notts Sport, adds: "The synthetic pitch project at Harrogate Grammar School is a perfect example of how Notts Sport's free Design and Advisory Service can help solve issues which can otherwise get in the way of delivering first-class sports facilities.
"This unique service is available at no additional charge to the materials we supply, so customers can also be sure that their projects are financially viable and tailored to their needs at no up-front cost."