Founded in 1553, Tonbridge School is one of the leading boys’ boarding schools in the country – and a member of the Eton Group. The campus is currently going through its most significant period of development since the Victorian era.
As part of the investment, the school has created some of the region’s best sports facilities. At the heart of its sports provision is the £11m Tonbridge School Centre – a sports hub housing an award-winning swimming pool, a world-class athletics track and sports hall. Outdoor facilities include 150 acres of playing fields – catering for rugby, football, hockey and cricket – and three synthetic turf pitches.
In 2018, some of the outdoor facilities were deemed in need of upgrading work, in order to maintain the standards required by the school’s fee-paying pupils.
One of the major works was the reconstruction of both the athletics track and the water-based hockey pitch. For the projects, the school appointed SAPCA member Cleveland Land Services (CLS).
The company’s sports division – CLS Sports – completed the work in a tight timeframe, during the school’s 2018 summer break.
CLS began the work by removing the existing, nylon water-based hockey pitch and its shockpad, which were at the end of their life span. A new insitu rubber shockpad was then installed ahead of the water saving, synthetic turf installation which now meets FIH Global Standards for water-based hockey pitches.
The unique and pioneering PA/ASBF fibre combination of the turf used in the pitch will ensure self-regulating moisture control. This means that the school does not need to sprinkle the surface as often – resulting in environmental benefits and substantial water savings.
The pitch system also guarantees an extremely fast, professional, high-quality game and offers playing comfort, meeting the most stringent requirements of top professional players.
The work to replace the athletics track was done concurrently to ensure disruption to the school was kept to a minimum.
The existing synthetic surfacing was carefully removed before a number of repairs to the existing macadam base were carried out. A new, IAAF-certified non-porous sandwich system was then installed.
The field’s throwing facilities were also resurfaced with macadam, as were the neighbouring footpaths to the facility. Once completed and tested, the track was given a British Athletic Track Mark Certification. The new surface is seen as a faster one than its predecessor – and the school hopes that future competitions held on it will challenge records.
“The project exemplifies CLS’ multi-disciplined skill set in delivering innovative and industry leading sports surfaces,” said John Miller, managing director at CLS.