The importance of physical education in schools is well documented – not only for encouraging pupils to exercise but also for developing life skills such as team work. Having the appropriate sporting facilities available for students to hone these skills is therefore important to any educational establishment. However, as a specialist sports college, it was even more crucial for The Winston Churchill School, Woking.
Hoping to grow participation further and give pupils the opportunity to play a number of different sports all in one place, staff at The Winston Churchill School were looking for an artificial grass surface that was truly multifunctional. However, while being flexible and durable enough to withstand the playing characteristics of tennis, hockey, netball and football, it was also important that the new installation would be a high-quality, attractive addition to the school’s grounds. Furthermore, the hope was that a new installation would encourage increased external hire during the weekends.
With these needs in mind, the school’s ongoing searches led it to artificial grass manufacturer, TigerTurf. From there, the natural fit was the Evo Pro surface, which is long lasting, and compliant with the FIH’s National standard for hockey. Thanks to its vivid colour and clear markings, Evo Pro would not only prove flexible enough for several different sports, but would also provide the aesthetic enhancement that the school was hoping for; creating an inviting area for pupils to play.
The installation was completed by sports pitch construction specialists, ETC Sports, in September 2017, and so far the benefits have been substantial.
Stuart Phillips, Business Manager, at The Winston Churchill School commented: “We have been very impressed with the Evo Pro surface and are delighted to see just how many students and members of public have been enjoying it.”
Not only is the installation a hit with the players, it also offered a better return on capital investment, with the school anticipating that the new pitch will boost income from this area by at least 60 per cent, delivering a payback period of just four to five years. The new pitch is also now operating at 90 to 95 percent capacity, compared to just 50 per cent previously and has been in use for around 15 hours in the week, and 8 hours over the weekend – again, doubling previous levels of usage.
Mr Stuart Phillips concludes: “We spent a long time looking for a true multi-sport surface that could accommodate a variety of different sports, while also meeting the highest standards, such as approval by England Netball. Evo Pro came as close as possible to meeting all of our needs, with TigerTurf delivering a quality of product that matched our status as a sports college.”
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