The 2018 SAPCA Awards attracted a record number of entries, with a total of 17 contenders being named as finalists for the prestigious honour. From those, a panel of judges chose David Morley Architects as the overall winner of the prize for the company’s work on the Sports Hub at University of Warwick.
Among the finalists was a joint project by SAPCA members TigerTurf and McArdle Sport Tec. McArdle was appointed as principal contractor to convert Dorchester Town FC’s natural grass field into a state-of-the-art 3G pitch, with TigerTurf providing the carpet and base system.
Finding the Funding
Evo-Stik Southern Premier club Dorchester Town FC had for long wanted to replace its natural grass pitch at its 5,229-capacity Avenue Stadium with a 3G surface. The vision was to turn the venue into a community football hub by increasing the available playing hours to 80 hours per week. The increased playing hours would also open opportunities for new teams to play and train and for the club to hold summer football camps.
The club worked hard to make funding for the project possible. First, it secured a Section 106 grant from West Dorset District Council, which awarded the club 50 per cent of the money needed for the pitch. The club, however, was left with the challenge of raising the additional £252,000.
As part of the funding push, the club raised an impressive £21,000 through a unique ‘pitch for the community’ crowdfunding campaign, by selling virtual squares of the artificial 3G pitch in exchange for sponsorship. It proved to be a huge success and all original 100 squares were sold out in three days. Donations for the campaign were then matched by Dorchester Town Council and Dorset County Council – and with a mixture of other sources, the remaining funding was secured.
Getting to Work
For the surface, the club opted for the unique TigerTurf Ecocept engineered performance base layer and Atomic Pro 50 artificial grass.
Ecocept is a seamlessly paved base layer made from recycled plastics and recycled rubber. Paved in-situ, Ecocept provides numerous benefits for the construction and performance of an artificial grass pitch.
Working in partnership, McArdle Sport Tec and TigerTurf completed the work on the 8,424sq m pitch in under three months, getting the pitch ready for the beginning of the 2018-19 league season.
“TigerTurf Ecocept is an innovative porous pavement, specifically developed for synthetic turf athletic playing surfaces and integrates seamlessly with the synthetic turf – enhancing biomechanical performance,” said David Hook, sales director at TigerTurf.
“It combines several critical functions in one layer, including having structural stability in a fully bound and stabilised base and consistent shock absorbency across the entire field. It also provides shock absorbency that meets FIFA requirements.”
Meanwhile, the Atomic Pro 50 is made from extra wear-resistant yarn for community-level use and provides a combination of performance and durability. It has been developed with a high level of constant wear in mind and is designed to meet the requirements of the community level athlete through to elite players.
“Another fantastic project to be involved in, with our partners Tigerturf,” said Richard Thornton, Contracts Director for McArdle Sport Tec.
“A combination of ground stabilisation and adaptive drainage techniques assisted to blend the new pitch brilliantly into the existing stadium facility. It featured a top class artificial pitch specification, installed to the highest of standards – which we are very pleased to hear has had a highly positive impact on the Club and the local community.”
Big Step Forward
Club chair Matt Lucas said the installation is a “massive step” for the club.
“This new development allows Dorchester Town FC to play a much bigger part in our local community and we are delighted to be able to open up our new facility to everyone in the area.
“The 3G pitch also provides an excellent back-drop for team building events.”