0 Pitch improvement works worth £1.4m at schools and sports facilities across Inverclyde

Pitch improvement works worth almost £1.4 million are kicking on at six schools and sports facilities across Inverclyde.

The 3G surface at Inverclyde Academy, pictured, is the latest to be overhauled by contractors working on behalf of the council.

Work is also currently on the go to replace two artificial pitches at Parklea in Port Glasgow, including upgrades to the base of the stadium pitch which will meet the quality standard set by world football governing body FIFA.

Last February the Telegraph revealed how the £6m Parklea facility was at the heart of a pitch battle after it was no longer deemed up to scratch by the Scottish Football Association after eight years.

This led to Morton, who had used the facility, threatening to quit Inverclyde as their training base because its ranking meant they'd lost £85,000 worth of funding from the SFA.

The club subsequently shifted their training to Cappielow amid stringent cost-cutting, although they have recently been using the 3G pitch at Battery Park for sessions.

The Parklea and Inverclyde Academy upgrades follow the recent replacement of two pitches at Notre Dame High, an upgrade from a 2G to a 3G surface at All Saints Primary, with works also completed to two playing fields at Port Glasgow Community Campus and the pitch at St Columba's High in Gourock.

The total investment is just over £1.4m, including nearly £500,000 for the All Saints and Notre Dame pitches from FES, the company which provides the facilities management services to those schools.

The local authority is also finalising plans to carry out improvements to surfaces at Lady Octavia Sports Centre and Wemyss Bay Primary in the near future, while FES is planning further works at Clydeview Academy and Notre Dame High.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council's education and communities convener, said: "It's been well-documented that Inverclyde has one of the best schools estates in Scotland, if not the UK, thanks to the council's unprecedented £270 million investment in our educational establishments.

"Sport and outdoor learning are just as crucial as what goes on inside the classrooms and that's why it's important that pitches at our schools and leisure facilities are kept in top condition to support our pupils, teaching staff and the wider community with keeping active.

"I'm sure that once the current restrictions are lifted these pitches will be put to good use by students, residents and sports teams across Inverclyde when it is safe to do so."

Groundworks have been taking place at Inverclyde Academy ahead of the planned installation of the new 3G 'carpet' next week.

That project alone is expected to cost just under £250k.

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